The Ministry of Defence has announced that the e-bluey service will be ending on 31 March 2017.
British Forces Post Office (BFPO) have told us that they remain fully committed to ensuring that those deployed on operations are able to keep in touch with their families and friends. They understand the importance of the services provided by the BFPO which is recognised and embedded within the Armed Forces Covenant, as well as the Terms and Conditions of Service of military personnel.
Why has this decision been made?
Since the draw down from Afghanistan in 2014, and the continued growth of Wi-Fi- and mobile data-based technologies, the e-bluey has become much less popular as a way for service personnel to stay in touch. Usage has fallen by 97%, with numbers declining significantly from 100,000 in 2007 to under 3,000 per month in December 2016. As a result of this rapid decline in usage and changes in the way people are staying in touch with each other, the decision has been made to terminate the e-bluey service.
What will happen now?
The Ministry of Defence has decided to reinvest all of the funds used for the e-bluey service into further improvement of deployed welfare packages. The rationale behind this is that, while the e-bluey service is only used by a small number of people, a reinvestment of funds can provide improvements in Wi-Fi- based services that can benefit, and are more relevant to, a larger number of service personnel, their families and friends.
BFPO’s parcel and letter services will remain unaffected by the end of the e-bluey.
There will remain a way for all service personnel and their loved ones to stay in touch with each other, wherever they are in the world, through these services. Hand-written correspondence can still be sent free of charge via a FFAL (Forces Free Air Letter), which can be obtained from Post Offices. Eligible service staff will also still be able to receive parcel size packages of up to 2kg at no cost to the sender under the Enduring Families Free Mail Service (EFFMS) Scheme.
We will keep you updated on the improvements that will be put in place once the e-bluey service ends, it is due to be announced by Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) in late March 2017.