As some of you know I've been unable to send emails from home using SMTP for maybe two months, due to my incompetent ISP. Now I've finally figured out what was wrong and what needs to be done, and I'm just hoping they'll actually be able to do it. Read on for the whole story..

A little background first: All the major ADSL ISPs in Sweden use the services of a wholesale company called Skanova, and to prevent PCs connected to their net from becoming spam zombies they block all traffic on port 25, the SMTP port, that doesn't go to a pre-defined IP/hostname. This hostname is different for each of the ISPs, they only buy the ADSL line and provide their own web- and email servers.

This is all fine, and actually a pretty good idea for most people who can't keep their computers somewhat safe. But now my trouble starts. Before Bredbandsbolaget (BBB) I had another ISP, Telia, which also uses Skanova for the ADSL line. So before I switched to BBB I sent email via, and after the switch I'm supposed to use After switching ISP I happily changed my settings and tried to send email. It didn't work. "Connection timed out" was all I got.

So I called the support, described my problem and asked what could be wrong. They asked me if I had any firewall, which I do not (except the Linux box, but let's not get stuck in details..) and when they couldn't help me they forwarded the case to their second line support, the people who are supposed to actually know something about stuff and not just follow a script. They wait around for a couple of days, then call and ask me what username and password i have. I try to tell them that it's totally irrelevant since I can't even connect, I hardly think that a bad password could cause that, etc. But they really want the username etc and say they'll send an SMS when the work's done.

Some time later I call back and ask them how it's going, and the person I'm talking to checks the log where it says that the case is closed and that they could log in just fine with my username. Argh. So I tell them that it's still not working, that I still can't connect and they should probably look at the port 25 filter thingie, since that seems like the likely cause to me. They ask me if I have any firewall installed, no, and if I can access the net at all, yes, and then forward the case to second line support since "that shouldn't be possible..". A few days later I'm asked for my username and password, again, I try to tell them that it's not going to help since I still can't connect to the server. About here my patience is really starting to run out.

After a few more rounds of this I have a moment of clarity and realize that it's quite possible that when they switched me over from Telia to BBB something didn't work properly and my port 25 filter is still set up for Telia. I try it out, and of course I can connect to Telia's SMTP server. Sweet. Now I call BBB support again to tell them what the problem is so that they can fix it. I talk to someone who says that there's a case open for me and that second line need my IP and that they think I have a firewall that's causing the problem. Sigh. For the fifth time, at least, I tell him that I have no firewall, I give him my IP and describe the actualy cause of the problem to him.

He says ok fine, I've added the info they requested to the case and they'll look at it and send an SMS when they're done. Sensing trouble I ask him if he's written down what I've told him is the cause of the problem, which of course he hasn't. I kindly ask him to do it, which he does after a little bit of nagging. So now I'm waiting for the final reply saying that they've used their magic networking skills to localize the problem and fix it. Yeah right.

Anyway. Now I can actually send emails, which is nice, at least until they screw it up when trying to fix it :)

During this whole thing I've gotten pretty fed up with them being totally incompetent and asked them how I could end my subscription and switch back to Telia since they actually manage to deliver the service I'm paying for. This of course makes them very happy and willing to help, and they tell me that I have a "minimum six months" condition in my contract. Of course there has been no information about this anywhere when I signed up, so I ask them why they think they can do stuff like that. I'm told that it's in the "general conditions", and it's the same for everyone. I read the conditions, and it doesn't say anything about any six months. I call back and ask again, and now they say that they gave this information over the phone when I ordered. Only trouble is I ordered over the Internet.. Actually there is a recording of something since we in Sweden have a law that says that you've allowed to cancel any order made over the phone, internet, etc, in two weeks time, and since I didn't really want to wait they had the option of phoning in and waiving that right, and this conversation was recorded. So I ask them to send me a copy of that recording to prove that I've agreed to this six month thing. I'm still waiting for that copy..

Bottom line: BBB has the worst support I've ever encountered, and I'm going to switch back to Telia as soon as possibly unless they give me a good compensation for not getting what I've paid for for several months and having to do their work for them and figure out what's wrong. Bah.