I've Been Filtered!
I had a few problems with this account, taking unnamed people to task for failing to do their jobs, and then they doing disturbing things when they were challenged.
It took five weeks to get my account running. I must have upset people more, since I found that while I could access overseas sites OK, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook overseas servers could not send me anything except bare text. The IMs worked OK, but nothing else. When I found that I could not even update Windows, I complained.
Bigpond's Helpdesk responded incredibly quickly. Incredibly quickly, as if it was waiting for me. It suggested I had corrupted IE's cache, and detailed how I was to fix it. I spent two hours doing this and testing it, and found that clearing the cache actually made things worse. So I complained again about 2am Tuesday morning, commenting that the same problem occurred with Firefox (my default browser), and then quit.
About 9am, I opened up again, but after about three access doing my mail (using Firefox), suddenly I was getting timeout mesages that could have only been caused by my ISP intercepting my requests and blocking my access to these servers by sending a notification back that the connection had timed out.
Basically, a version of the proposed Internet filter, but applied to requests from my account.
I tried IE8, and everything worked (but with a little initial delay on the requests). Even the sites I could not receive from previously talked to me. But despite repeated attempts to use Firefox, it never worked again.
It is now Thursday morning, and Firefox still doesn't work. Repeated communications with Bigpond show that it is not treating the request seriously (or the last person to e-mail me is literally challenged). I was finally advised to pay for help from a third-party service
Basically, in revenge for being a pain in the arse, Bigpond stopped three US sites from sending me information, but in such a way as to suggest the problem was at my end. Before I could hook up another machine to show my hardware was not at fault, Bigpond changed its assault by simply blocking all communication if I used Firefox. The ultimate answer they can give now is that it has to be something in the browser, since IE8 works.
I have tried another laptop on my account, one which worked well on another account for three years. It has the same problem, so the issue is with elements within Bigpond fucking up my account.
And with other elements either refusing to repair it or too incompetent to see that there is a problem. My past history with Bigpond argues that either is likely.
I have followed my son's advice and installed Opera. It works well, so far.