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Bye-bye Telinco - death warrant finally issued by TalkTalk

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Exclusive An eight-week notice of the final end has been issued to any remaining customers of ancient ISP Telinco by its owner TalkTalk - which inherited the mail and hosting servers after it bought Tiscali in 2009.

Legacy email addresses have tended to do a fairly good job of surviving multiple buyouts of a company and its underpinning technology thus far. Until now, that was certainly the case for Cheshire-based Telinco, which way back in September 1999 claimed to be the first subscription-free ISP to make a profit when it boasted 600,000 registered customers on its books.

The company, which once had the honour of hosting News International's long-gone Bun.com, was snapped up by World Online at the height of the dotcom boom in 2000. Eight of the 60 employees then working at the outfit became instant millionaires off the back of that acquisition.

A year later, Tiscali entered the fray. It announced in June 2001 that it had swept up World Online UK, LibertySurf and LineOne - which was a joint venture of News International, United News & Media and BT.

Despite this fresh change of ownership, Telinco email and hosting servers survived under Tiscali.

The rest of the decade was relatively uneventful for users of that service until Charles Dunstone's Carphone Warehouse made Tiscali a £236m offer it couldn't refuse - after a lot of wrangling. The move led to plans for Tiscali's and TalkTalk's networks to be integrated within two years.

By January 2010, the Tiscali brand was axed, but telinco.co.uk and nwnet.co.uk email users were still able to access the service.

However, in 2011 The Register started to hear from cheesed-off users of TalkTalk's Lineone legacy email accounts - with some claiming that access had been cut off. TalkTalk told those users that if they weren't using its service then the email accounts had effectively been orphaned. TalkTalk still maintains support for Lineone as long as customers have an account with the telco.

But a death warrant has now been signed for Telinco.

TalkTalk's Business wing told El Reg that there were very few Telinco email addresses still actively being used and now those punters have been given notice that the service will be shuttered for good on 1 May.

Here's the official statement:

We can confirm that customers still using Telinco email addresses and webspace accounts have been given 60 days' notice that the service is closing. Telinco stopped offering subscriptions 12 years ago after it became part of World Online, which was bought by Tiscali and then TalkTalk. Customers have until Wednesday, May 1 to transfer to another email service.

One Reg reader who described himself as possibly being a "privacy obsessed dinosaur" lamented the demise of Telinco.

"How sad there will be no continuity for such carefully crafted DNS name 'Brands' and the diligent services they provided for so long," he said, before asking:

"Will we only be left with 'cloud' choices where even directly paid service providers don't know, let alone care, in what jurisdictions my personal data is hosted?"

TalkTalk Business told users of the service that its systems were being "rationalised" and added that the platform supporting Telinco was "at the the end of its operational life".

Telinco customers were told to sign up to a new email service. ®

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