If you’re relying on your ISP for email, one word of advice: Don’t. Get an email address independent of your ISP.
This was a lesson I learned a long, long time ago, thanks to some web-savvy friends. The first reason that I was given was that it meant that whenever I changed internet service providers, I didn’t have to change my email address. So I went with a hosted email solution. (Besides, it looked more professional to have my own domain.)
For personal use, there are tons of providers out there – Gmail is probably the biggest – that will give you a permanent email address for free. That’s not to say that those services don’t ever go down – because they do. Just last week, Gmail had an outage. Blackberry has had them. It happens. But they don’t all go down at the same time.
Cox is my ISP. And that’s all I use them for. Even if the internet is out – which happens often enough due to power failures – I can still get to my email. If the Blackberry service goes down, I still can access my email, just not on my phone. If my email host goes down, at least I have a backup in Gmail – and I can send emails from there using one of my many email addresses. If Gmail goes down, I still have an old Yahoo address that I can use.
Technology requires redundancy. Use it.