I've just transferred from AOL BB to BT BB and now need to set up an e-mail account. The criteria I'm hoping to abide by: (1) I don't want a web-based one (e.g. Yahoo) where every click goes across the internet, but rather one where you can download mail and attachments for "offline" working before initiating another send/receive. (2) I want to be able to use Outlook as the user interface. (3) It must be free.
Maybe you should check Yahoo again, as the email service they offer fits your criteria perfectly. I use a yahoo.co.uk email address through Outlook (Yahoo even have their own SMTP) for working offline as you describe, plus I have the added benefit of being able to access Yahoo on-line if away from my PC. It is free to use, and the spam protection is the best I've seen in any email provider. click here