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Thousands of BT Internet customers are facing their third day locked out of their email accounts after an upgrade cock-up.

The ISP has admitted that "a few thousand" of its users were affected by the bungle, which hit the service on Monday.

It hopes to have the problem fixed by Thursday, but a representative today told BBC Online it was still working with suppliers "to identify what the problem is".

And a notice on the ISP's Web site warns users it is "currently conducting emergency planned work on the mail server which has resulted in intermittent service problems throughout the afternoon".

BT Internet, which claims 400,000 subscribers, is not obliged to pay compensation to customers affected by technical problems. But it appeared to have an attack of guilt today, with the representative saying the company would "not rule out the possibility of a goodwill gesture". ®

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