Many Telstra BigPond dial-up customers have been without e-mail since Wednesday afternoon owing to a technical fault.
Customers dialling the technical assistance line are met with a recorded message which says: "Some customers nationally may experience intermittent time-out issues or delays with their e-mails. All e-mails are being stored and no messages will be lost."
The message then goes on to say it is a top priority.
Despite the voice message remaining on the technical assistance line, a Telstra spokesperson confirmed with PC World that the problem has now been fixed.
The spokesperson said the carrier, unbeknownst to it, was supplied buggy software from its supplier. The net effect of this was to "artificially increase the load factor for the platform".
The resulting effect was to decrease the speed of incoming mail; and for time-out errors to appear when retrieving e-mail.
One dial-up user, Peter, said he has been receiving e-mails but was struggling to send any out. Since Wednesday lunchtime he has successfully sent only three e-mails.
He uses the Internet for his business.
"It's bloody frustrating," he said. "I am in the throes of signing up with a new ISP just to keep operating."
Telstra's spokesperson said customers such as Peter who are experiencing sending problems should persist with clicking the send and receive function. "After a second or third attempt, they should be successful."