Sky isn't usually the kind of company to provoke a mass public outcry unlike some of its broadcasting counterparts, but the problem is that when you start providing broadband, nothing is easy any more. The company announced back in August that it would be shifting its email platform over to Google's hosted apps solution Google Apps.

No alarm bells then, though it seemed a pretty strange move for an established company like Sky to want to get up close and personal with Google Apps but then, it's not half as odd as half the stuff on Sky One.

Flip forward to now and Sky is beginning the transition of customer mail accounts. Sky says it has "successfully migrated over a million email accounts" so far onto the Google platform.

However, many users remain confused. Sky's customer emails sent out prior to the transfer starting were lengthy and complex - hardly forerunners to a support call-free switchover. During the transition old email doesn't might not appear "for a few days" according to the customer email, advising customers to print out any emails they may need or forward them elsewhere during the transfer.

POP3 pops out

User concern is borne out by user posts on sites such as SkyUser.co.uk. One writes: "Over a week ago an e-mail from Sky said my previous contacts and messages would be restored within 72 hours and I should call them if they were not. I phoned an advisor after three days and did not get anywhere. She did not have a clue. I have since e-mailed Sky on three occasions and each has only been met with a standard acknowledgement."

The biggest pain appears to be that customers have to enable and configure POP3 access themselves. Sky claims that only "a small percentage of customers" use POP3 access. "We were aware this issue would affect a small number of customers and emailed each customer in advance to advise and provide step-by-step instructions of what they needed to do," said a spokesperson for Sky.

"For customers who use a POP based program rather than a web browser the migration can not be done remotely, as the customer needs to manually change their settings so their computer recognises where to find their emails."

Trouble is, the customer isn't supposed to do any of this when they receive the customer email, but instead when they are later account is activated. No wonder that things aren't exactly going smoothly.

Still, Sky remains upbeat. "The Sky technical service team is fully resourced to help those customers who require additional support in manually changing their settings. It is anticipated that this process will be completed shortly," said our spokesperson.