I'm not sure if this is news or not, or just underreported, but Qwest.net appears to be fading away as Qwest moves its DSL customers to a co-branded MSN service. Read their FAQ which is full of weasel words. It makes me crazy. Try these:
Under the agreement, MSN will become the preferred Internet Service Provider (ISP) for some Qwest.net Consumer Internet Access customers. Qwest and Microsoft� are working together to provide consumers with best-of-breed MSN content and services via Qwest's Internet infrastructure. This means bloody nothing to the average consumer reading this. In plain language, Qwest decided to get out of the ISP business because MSN could do it better and offer more. Simple, clear, direct.
One of the benfits: * MSN easy-to-use software and tools designed to deliver an exciting online experience to consumers. Yeah, email is really exciting.
Also: * MSN POP3 or MSN Web-based e-mail services including Messenger, Hotmail� Web-based e-mail, and Search that are already among the most popular in the world. I like to make my decisions based on popularity rather than how well something serves my needs.
Email can only be forwarded to new MSN accounts: E-mail Forwarding - forwards e-mail directed to your Qwest.net e-mail address to your new MSN e-mail address. * E-mail Auto Reply - automatically sends your new MSN e-mail address back to anyone who sends an e-mail message to your old Qwest.net e-mail address.
Now here's where I have to be fair: the services that MSN is offering are, in fact, substantially more robust, well-tested, and extensive than Qwest. Users will be getting a lot more than they had: more storage for Web sites, authenticated outbound email (which means you can use it on the road and it's a positive anti-spam initiative at MSN), etc. Laundry list of stuff. For most consumers, this is actually a good move.
So why can't they just say that?
This change may open up the DSL market again: customers of Qwest may have initially signed up because Qwest made it this easy, all-in-one, all US West-later-Qwest-branded experience. With more logos in the process and more partners involved, regional and national ISPs may be able to pick up service by offering it over Qwest's DSL local loop.