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Cox Discontinues Usenet, Starting In June 306

Posted by timothy
from the alt-dot-mumble-mumble-dot-binaries dept.
Existential Wombat was one of several readers to note that Cox Communcations customers have been put on notice that their Usenet access will soon dry up, unless they want to pay a monthly surcharge for it. From the note that subscribers received: "Effective June 30, 2010, Cox Communications will discontinue Usenet service to our subscribers. Declining newsgroup usage in recent years has highlighted the need to focus our resources on other priorities, such as increasing our Internet speeds and providing new services, including Cox Media Store and Share. We understand that our newsgroup subscribers may want to continue accessing Usenet. Therefore, we have worked with leading newsgroup service provider Giganews to offer special pricing for Cox subscribers." Gripes Existential Wombat: "$15++ a month for something Cox provided as a part of the service? Of course they will be reducing everyone's monthly tariff by the value of the service they no longer provide. Yeah, right."
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Cox Discontinues Usenet, Starting In June

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  • Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) *

    The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?

    What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files. The average "$100 for a limited time for a Triple Play of Internet, TV and Phone" user doesn't know it exists and

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jorl17 (1716772)
      Cowboy Neal does, you insensitive clod!
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dan667 (564390) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:37PM (#31931826)
      better service? That is naivety or a blatant false statement.
      The fact that they will not be charging less even though they are providing less service hits the nail on the head.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        The fact that they will not be charging less even though they are providing less service hits the nail on the head.

        For 99% of their customers, they're *already* not providing that service.

        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NecroPuppy (222648) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:52PM (#31932062) Homepage

          I would state it as, "they're providing a service that 99% of their customers don't use, or even realize is there".

          So, for those 99% of the customers, there isn't a visable loss. Cox thus views it as, "they weren't using it before; why should their payments go down. If they want to use it now, their payments will go up."

          Capitalism in action.

          • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:15PM (#31932364) Homepage Journal

            Capitalism in action.

            Sure, but in this case, I dunno that Cox are being the complete ass clowns they usually are. I was a big time usenet user, long ago. Lately, I've forgotten myself that it evens exists. Yes, I'm sure that there are die-hards who will take issue with this. To them I say "GET A LIFE". There's so many better, richer alternatives out there now for connecting with masses of people with the same interests. Besides, usenet has become a huge pornography distribution network with a few anecdotal, non-porn topics anyway, who really gives a sh*t if isp's are getting a little tired of carrying it. There's better ways to distribute porn than usenet as well. Usenet was one of those great protocols that came with this new-fangled internet thingy. Now its a little passed its prime and ready for pasture. Let it go.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              Mod parent up. Usenet is only used by handful of geezers trading obscure ascii porn. We should all forget about it. Everyone uses TPB nowadays.
            • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:05PM (#31933708)

              There's so many better, richer alternatives out there now for connecting with masses of people with the same interests.

              Name one and I'll explain to you how it sucks and how in contrast usenet is far better and has been for decades.


              Besides, usenet has become a huge pornography distribution network with a few anecdotal, non-porn topics anyway

              That's very odd. I've been a faithful usenet user for around 5 years and I never saw porn on the newsgroups I subscribe. On the other hand, newsgroups such as comp.lang.c constantly get over 3 thousand posts a month [google.com], comp.lang.python also gets around 2500 post a month [google.com], comp.lang.c++ gets over 1500 posts a month [google.com] and those are one of many newsgroups dedicated to specific details regarding a measly programming language. There are countless newsgroups dedicated to APIs, protocols, programming paradigms and any sort of hobby you can imagine and some of them do keep a pretty respectable post count. And yet, with zero porn on it. How is that possible?


              who really gives a sh*t if isp's are getting a little tired of carrying it.

              I would, if that was my ISP. Thankfully, my ISP has been providing usenet access since I've started using the net. I really hope they don't discontinue it.


              There's better ways to distribute porn than usenet as well.

              All you do is yap about porn. What a fixation you got there. That's all you do online? How did you got the time to take a pause from it to browse slashdot?


              Usenet was one of those great protocols that came with this new-fangled internet thingy. Now its a little passed its prime and ready for pasture. Let it go.

              How exactly does a protocol "passed it's prime"? And even if that made any sense at all, the Network News Transfer Protocol [wikipedia.org] specifications were released in 1986 while the world wide web [wikipedia.org], along with the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) arrived in 1990. Does that mean that HTTP has already "passed it's prime"?

              Please at least try to claim what you really wanted to claim: you don't use usenet (at least for something other than feeding your porn habits) and as you don't use it you believe it somehow sucks. Yet, that doesn't make it true, does it?

              • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by jc42 (318812) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:41PM (#31934972) Homepage Journal

                There's so many better, richer alternatives out there now for connecting with masses of people with the same interests.

                Name one and I'll explain to you how it sucks and how in contrast usenet is far better and has been for decades.

                One point that is sometimes made about those "better, richer alternatives" is that they typically cause a serious problem that usenet has solved from the beginning: Most of them are web-based, and as such, every online forum has its own unique user interface. You have to learn a new GUI for nearly every one of them. With usenet, you can install one news reader and use it to read all the newsgroups that you subscribe to. Someone else can write a different interface, of course, but you don't have to use it if you don't like it. You can just continue to use the one that you like. With web-based forums, however, you must use the web site(s) that it's on, and they decide how the user interaction works. Many of them even require javascript, and they use it to break the browser's behavior, sometimes producing really bizarre, user-hostile behavior such as disabling the browser's Back button.

                Now that the ISPs are abandoning usenet, we should be explaining how the open-source usenet software works, and restoring the older site-to-site distribution system. It's usually far superior to the browser-based forum implementations.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I was a big time usenet user, long ago. Lately, I've forgotten myself that it evens exists. Yes, I'm sure that there are die-hards who will take issue with this. To them I say "GET A LIFE". There's so many better, richer alternatives out there now for connecting with masses of people with the same interests.

              So, your definition of "getting a life" is doing the exact same thing you're doing now... on a different part of the Internet.

          • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by VGR (467274) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:20PM (#31932438)

            "Capitalism in action" implies customers who are displeased with the change can take their money to a different, roughly equivalent service.

            • by JustNiz (692889)

              That would be my choice if Cox didn't have a complete monopoly in the city I live in (Phoenix AZ).

              • by xero314 (722674)

                That would be my choice if Cox didn't have a complete monopoly in the city I live in (Phoenix AZ).

                Interesting since I know plenty of people in Phoenix that have providers other then Cox for their internet access. But I guess you have never heard of DSL, or other alternatives to cable.

                I think what you meant to say is that you would switch if there was an option you preferred over Cox. But the reality is, you have decided that losing Usenet isn't enough for you to want to switch to one of the other providers.

                Fact is, there is no area of Business which Cox has no competitors, unless you narrow it down

            • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by diamondmagic (877411) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:47PM (#31932778) Homepage

              People like to throw around competition as a core concept of capitalism but that's just marketing, really. In some cases competition would actually be harmful, for instance, it makes no sense to have multiple lines delivering electricity or for that matter Internet service to the same household, especially when there are other unconnected places that would be much better served with a connection. It would be redundant and a waste of natural resources that, again, would be put to better use providing new service to people, or more likely, serving an entirely different function in a different industry altogether.

              Putting resources to work where they are most urgently demanded: That is "capitalism in action."

              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                Putting resources to work where they are most urgently demanded: That is "capitalism in action."

                Ah, to be young...

        • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:56PM (#31932118)

          And I'd wager most customer's don't even know their ISP provides e-mail. They use gmail, hotmail, etc.

          Heck I own my own domain and I don't even use my ISP's e-mail (other than SMTP), but if they canceled e-mail service I'd sure as hell want a discount.

          • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rfuilrez (1213562) <rfuilrez AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:04PM (#31932244)

            Really, it's a better idea IMO to use a 3rd party email service. Either a paid service, or a free one such as gmail/hotmail/yahoo. This way if you move, change ISPs for whatever reason, no longer need the ISP etc, you don't lose your email address. I've had my gMail account since it was invite only beta like 5 years ago. In that time I've moved and cancelled / signed-up for ISPs probably 6-7 times.

      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thittesd0375 (1111917) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:00PM (#31932186)
        I believe it is more accurate to say that they are not raising the price on everyone to keep an outdated service active for a few.
        • by ar1550 (544991) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:18PM (#31934408)

          Oh! I see what you did there.

          Yes, Usenet is absolutely an outdated service. No one over goes there anymore and it is certainly useless as a platform for distributing all sorts of binaries.

          • by taucross (1330311) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:52PM (#31935042)

            Yes, Usenet is unreliable, slow, expensive, and full of broken files. I can't imagine anyone would use it when torrents are available for fast, anonymous encrypted transfer of data. Who wants to pay an extra $50 a month for Usenet?

            The thing I hate most about Usenet is the hard work involved. It's not like a torrent where you can just download a file. Instead you go through folder by folder, picking out parts of a file (sometimes up to 1000 parts!) and then stitching them together, unzipping and FINALLY playing the file.

            Please mod me up. It is important that all torrent users know that they should keep using torrents.

            Signed, Happy Usenet Customer

      • Who ever said they would be charging less? That is naivety or a blatant false statement.

        It's a matter of priority. An ISP (or any business for that matter) has limited resources and needs to decide how to allocate them to maximize satisfaction (that is, profit). Cox, my ISP, has decided that other needs are more pressing. For example, I noticed my speed just went up, and they did in fact increase my speed. I don't know if it's related but the point is things like the extra speed isn't free, and they decided

        • by JustNiz (692889)

          Seriously, what resources?
          I hardly think that running a USENET server is a massive drain. Its probably some old box that they're already re-purposed from an earlier upgrade. Maybe $100/yr for electricity?
          Even all the client->server connections are local to the Cox subnet so USENET doesn't even put a load on their internet backbone.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by brentrad (1013501)
            The big cost in running a usenet server is the hard drive storage space. Although Cox only had 3-4 days retention, so that expense probably wasn't too bad. But if usenet is a service you provide according to your TOS, you have to pay someone to keep it running, provide refunds if the service is offline, then you have to deal with the headache of copyright violation take-down notices, and the possible legal liability of having copyright violating files (and child porn) residing on servers you own. I'm act
      • AT&T, Comcoast, Time Warner and Verizon have all discontinued their newsgroup services. What is a surprise is that there are (were) ISP's that still had them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dryeo (100693)

          Canadian, not US but my ISP still has Usenet though they did drop all the binary groups a couple of years ago. Still it has been at least 15 minutes since I've posted to usenet (comp.os.* and mozilla.* mostly).
          My last ISP just subcontracted with supernews for usenet instead of dropping it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Enderandrew (866215)

      Bingo.

      It doesn't cost Cox that much to provide the service. They're dropping it basically because no one needs it, except for piracy and such. This is more of a move to cover their asses in the wake of the ACTA treaty.

    • by ChristTrekker (91442) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:42PM (#31931894)

      News readers are a lot more lightweight than web browsers, can deal with the format intelligently. That's what I'll miss when Cox (my ISP) drops Usenet. How big are browsers now, to make use of the all the funky Ajax features, that basically just simulate what I could do with trn in a terminal window 20 years ago?

      • by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:16PM (#31932378) Homepage Journal

        www.eternal-september.org

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Informative)

      by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:42PM (#31931898) Homepage

      What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files.

      The standard discussion forums for a great many tech communities are still on Usenet: comp.lang.python, comp.text.tex and gnu.emacs.gnus are just a few that I read daily. While you are right that the average subscriber doesn't know about Usenet these days, the Slashdot crowd ought to be upset that ISPs are dropping Usenet servers.

      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by carp3_noct3m (1185697) <slashdot@warriors-shade . n et> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:42PM (#31933472)
        Seriously, just because the stereotype of usenet is "dark alley hackerspace" anyoen who has ever even semi-used it knows thats not true. A friend of mine uses usenet combined with RSS feeds to get all kinds of information (IT Stuff) that you just don't get anywhere else. I bet the GP has never even used usenet. and yes, we should be upset that ISP's drop a service without at least a gesture of reconciliation, like a coupon for $7 off giga or something. As a matter of fact, I have a strange feeling giga dealt with cox in some closed doors meetings and said," look, you drop costs by dropping usenet, and we get customers, win win, now go screw your users over" and cox, being your classic greedy corporation jumped.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Usenet was *not* superseded by Google Groups. Google Groups is just a crapping web front-end to Usenet. There are still a lot of good groups in Usenet, certainly more than what you describe. A lot of language standards still perform discussions on Usenet. The only issue with Usenet is all the idiots (trolls, spammers, jerks, pendants) have caused many of the truly smart and helpful people to leave, but you can still find people whose knowledge and skills easily over match your typical person on web-based fo
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TDyl (862130)
        Being a pendant, I'll probably swing for this and you'll hang for that 'n'.
    • Exactly! I'm reminded of this post [interesting-people.org] by email researcher Meng Weng Wong, where he talks about DSL and providing good email service:

      DSL providers should just say to their customers, we'll just drop your price by $X a month if you decline POP --- that way we save on machines, sysadmins, and software licensing fees, and we get to say we're 20% cheaper than the competition ... and you'll just go off and use Hotmail, which is what you were going to do anyway!

      Maybe they'd use gmail instead of hotmail today, but t

      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:57PM (#31932136)
        If the price was better, I would buy just a nekid connection with NO additional services. I can roll my own mail, web site, news... Just cut my price! What? You want to cut service, raise the price and shove some personal data-mining junk at me? Uh... Pass...
        • I would buy just a nekid connection with NO additional services. I can roll my own mail, web site, news...

          So, basically, a pipe tied to a static IP address? Sounds good to me.

    • "dark allies" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:50PM (#31932032) Homepage Journal

      To you perhaps it is, but others its not.

      Also, while i agree there are things such as Google groups that are similar, its still not Usenet, and if you weren't a snot nosed kid, you would understand the difference. ( hint, one is distributed, another is a single point of failure/control, for starters. )

      And ya, Usenet isn't what it used to be due to the dumbing down of the net due to the influx of idiots "oooh, click, its pretty", but it still has a place, especially as governments try to crack down on information freedoms.

      • To you perhaps it is, but others its not.

        Also, while i agree there are things such as Google groups that are similar, its still not Usenet, and if you weren't a snot nosed kid, you would understand the difference. ( hint, one is distributed, another is a single point of failure/control, for starters. )

        And ya, Usenet isn't what it used to be due to the dumbing down of the net due to the influx of idiots "oooh, click, its pretty", but it still has a place, especially as governments try to crack down on information freedoms.

        And as the "Ohhh, click, its pretty" croud go away. That is the best part of the web. A vacuum for usenet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by brunes69 (86786)
        Google Groups *is* Usenet. They are just another Usenet peer. And their interface and searchability makes usenet more useable than any standalone client I have ever used.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by coaxial (28297) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:52PM (#31932064) Homepage

      The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?

      So we should just use a crappy web interface when there are vastly superior stand alone applications, is that what you're saying?

      Every time some protocol gets eliminated. Every time things move from the open to the closed, the proprietary, the world sucks just a bit more. Interaction quality goes down, and you end being able to do less and less.

      Let me guess. Twitter is better than email right? After all, a 140 character statically allocated array is enough for everyone. Or are we supposed to all be sucking at the tit of Mark Zuckerman's stolen walled garden?

      This is a price hike for those who want to use an obscure feature that should lead to better service or lower costs for those of us who care about those things more than a supply of illegal content.

      Actually it's a price hike for everyone jackass. When cost stays the same, and service goes down, you're actually paying more for less. It's the oldest trick in the book. Haven't you noticed that your box of Wheaties is smaller [cnn.com], but costs the same?

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Random Data (538955) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:52PM (#31932070)
      "Superseded" normally implies improvements. While Google/Deja provide a long term archive and searching support, they're nothing like as useful as a dedicated client to a newsgroup server for actually taking part in discussions. It's similar to the reason people use mail clients rather than just Gmail: you have more control over how you interact with others.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ascari (1400977)
      It's an outrage! What is the world coming to? Next they'll block gopher and archie and uucp!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Interestingly, uucp is still seeing some use in remote areas of certain countries, where the Internet infrastructure is not built up. The idea, as I understand it, is to use uucp to copy batches of email onto a mobile system (or just a flash drive), then physically move that system to the next computer, exchanging mail and whatnot, eventually exchanging email with the broader Internet. Slow, yes, but better than nothing at all.

        I am sure gopher and archie are still used somewhere too.
        • Interestingly, uucp is still seeing some use in remote areas of certain countries, where the Internet infrastructure is not built up. The idea, as I understand it, is to use uucp to copy batches of email onto a mobile system (or just a flash drive), then physically move that system to the next computer, exchanging mail and whatnot, eventually exchanging email with the broader Internet. Slow, yes, but better than nothing at all.

          Reminds me of the good old BBS days and dialing up long distance at midnight to exchange email between systems. <sniff>

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:13PM (#31932338)

      Wrong wrong wrong.
      Yours is a pitiful argument. Just because you or even the majority of users don't use some aspect of the internet is not a good excuse to make a blanket assumption that no-one uses or wants it.

      Your points sound similarly misguided to the malicious blurring that the RIAA and MPAA are trying to make around P2P, in that all P2P is by definition illegal regardless of the fact there are many legitimate P2P sites and P2P is simply an efficient distribution protocol, not a DRM circumvention mechanism in itself.

      I use USENET legally and Google Groups and other free sources just don't provide what I want. Firstly, they dont cover binary groups and secondly they aren't nearly as easy/convenient to use, so your argument that other things have superseded USENET is entirely wrong.

      In real terms it probably costs Cox next to nothing to have a USENET server sat in a rack, so the real savings of cutting it off are going to be minimal, probably just the electricity for an old server box that they've already re-tasked from other upgrades.

      I'm surprised you really expect to see any noticeable improvement in other service areas as a result of Cox no longer suporting USENET. I seriously doubt it. All that this will mean is (probably literally) a few tens of dollars of extra corporate profit that we the users will never see the benefit of.

      Personally I hate the idea that ISPs are being allowed to redefine "internet service" to just mean port 80 traffic. Cox's own advertising confirms I paid for an internet connection not just a web connection. I don't see why I should now be obliged to pay extra to keep the same level of service that I've had for the last 5 years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pavon (30274)

        I use USENET legally and Google Groups and other free sources just don't provide what I want. Firstly, they dont cover binary groups and secondly they aren't nearly as easy/convenient to use.

        Honest question here. I understand why people would prefer to use a real news reader as opposed to mailing lists or web forums, as they are much better tools for the job. But binary groups? That is like preferring to get binary files as shar [wikipedia.org] email text rather than an attachment. It was a hacked in use and I never saw the appeal apart from piracy.

        What features of USENET make it better for obtaining legitimate binaries compared to FTP or HTTP or Bittorrent?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JustNiz (692889)

          Nothing other than availability.

          Personally I'd prefer a (free) comprehensive and up-to-date ftp or web-based version of all the content on alt.binaries.emulators but there isn't one that I've found.

          Bittorrent is just too damn slow and annoying, especially if no-one is seeding the file you really want.

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          We have RIAA sources claiming that ALL torrenting involves illegal files, and clueless judges who seem to believe them, and you have to ask why USENET beats torrents for legitimate binaries? Uhm, maybe because the crazy and clueless that seem to be running all too much of our society might just point to the torrent software itself as part of their 'proof' you were pirating their content.
          Maybe some local cop has heard just enough about Bittorrent to 'think' he knows you are up to

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by GreatBunzinni (642500)

          Honest question here. I understand why people would prefer to use a real news reader as opposed to mailing lists or web forums, as they are much better tools for the job.

          Who says usenet and other media such as mailing lists and web forums are mutually exclusive? They aren't. They are nothing more than interfaces to access data. After all, there are services which offer access to the same content wether through mailing lists, web forums and also usenet server. For example, take a look at Trolltech's Qt [trolltech.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by binkzz (779594)

          What features of USENET make it better for obtaining legitimate binaries compared to FTP or HTTP or Bittorrent?

          Speed and availability. You're only dependant on the speed of your usenet provider, which (if you pay for it) is usually very fast. I download far faster from my usenet provider than from any FTP or HTTP I visit, let alone torrents. Plus when something's on usenet, it'll stay there until it reaches your provider's retention. No one can delete it, no moderators, no MAFIAA. Also, torrenting music and videos is illegal where I live, but dowloading them via Usenet is not.

          But binary groups? That is like preferring to get binary files as shar [wikipedia.org] email text rather than an attachment. It was a hacked in use and I never saw the appeal apart from piracy.

          HTTP uses the same hack, although its en

      • by poptones (653660) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:54PM (#31932876) Journal

        Perhaps one can serve usenet in a rack, but that's so very not likely. Daily usenet traffic is measured in the hundreds of gigabytes and maintaining a local cache of that traffic means hundreds of gigabytes of traffic even if NO ONE ACCESSES IT. Whether you have one subscriber or 1000 using that local cache of traffic, the very act of maintaining a local cache means more inbound /0 traffic, more overhead in the form of support costs and maintenance costs, and dealing with an ever spiraling demand for more space.

        Anyone who thinks usenet is dead is seriously uninformed. Easynews has gajillions of subscribers and they provide access to binaries groups directly via the browser - no need to learn t use nzbs or nntp clients unless you really want to. Easynews, Giganews and even Astraweb provide access to usenet in a way no other local ISP likely has for a decade now. I understand Cox has had very good usenet service but that just makes the point ever more: it costs real money to provide this service! Cox also has the problem of serving as an illicit gateway - a good bit of the illegal stuff posted to usenet has come through rooted windows machines sitting on the Cox network. By eliminating their pool of nntp resources they shift that security problem off onto Giganews, an ISP that focuses directly on providing this service.

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Informative)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:19PM (#31932428)
      "The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?"

      Compared to my Usenet client, Google Groups, Slashdot, and every other web based system are a collective joke...and I am sure there are better Usenet clients than what I use (KNode). Usenet also has the advantage of being distributed -- or did Slashdot suddenly start exchanging comments with other systems (can I peer with Slashdot?), which came in handy when a Usenet server I used to use was shut down; I just pointed my client to another server, and the same discussions were all immediately available.

      Really, when it comes to text based discussions, Usenet has a lot of advantages. If all you care about is using the latest cool looking technology, I guess that does not matter to you, but some of us actually do like the discussions on Usenet. There are still a number of very nice discussions on technical topics, such as cryptography, math, and various programming languages. Usenet is not just for "illegal content," even if that is all you ever used it for.

      As for better service...well, let's put it this way: when Time Warner stopped running its Usenet servers, there was no increase in the quality of service I received from them. The quality of service remained identical, as it has with other ISPs. Cox just wants to turn a higher profit by ending a service that a minority of customers were using, and to claim otherwise is either naivety or outright lying.
    • by timeOday (582209)

      The "newsgroup" service that Usenet was designed for is now superseded by Google Groups (who absorbed DejaNews, the site that aimed to archive every Usenet post ever), zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites like, um, the one you're reading this on called Slashdot... get the point?

      It's sad how proprietary services are displacing open standards on the Internet. The rise of Twitter over email is another example, and web chat over IRC is another.

      It's sad because it shows complete freedom / a

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcmonkey (96054) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:33PM (#31932620) Homepage

      What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files.

      What you describe is not just most of Usenet, but most of the Internet itself. Would you be OK if Cox discontinued all Internet service, but continued to bill customers?

      In fact, 1) Usenet is lot more than the dark alleys of the internet.

      2) What does Google have to do with it? So what about Google Groups? What about options? There is Gmail, does that mean there should be no other email option?

      3) What about all the things my newsreader does that Google Groups does not? Saving threads for reading off line, killfile, etc.

      4) You contradict yourself. If Usenet is such an obscure feature used by very few, why would removing access result in a measurable reduction in traffic?

      The truth is Usenet does some things better than your "zillions of web forums, blogs, comment friendly sites."

    • Doesn't the same pipe carry the same data, as in the pirated HBO show versus the actual show being sent from HBO? And would not the pirated copy be smaller and have less impact than streaming it to the customer?
    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      If you want to get one HBO show... this price will likely make it more cost effective for you to get HBO through your TV pipe, a reduction of traffic on the Internet that should make your community's connection work better.

      Wrong. The the people who were using Usenet now use a different service for Usenet, then the amount of traffic overhead will INCREASE, not decrease, as now they have to use the pipe on BOTH sides of their IPS's servers to do so, raising the amount of traffic on the backbone side exponent

    • They could get rid of that OTHER back alley of seamy, scummy crap known as craigslist.

    • by ArcherB (796902)

      What's left on Usenet is the "dark allies" of porn, spamming, and illegally shared copyrighted files.

      Exactly! This is why I care! OK, I could do without the spamming and illegally shared copyrighted files.

    • by toastar (573882)

      Wait cox didn't offer real binary access for free up til this did they?

  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:39PM (#31931842) Homepage

    Usenet is pretty much dead except for piracy, subsumed by specialty web forums for those who are after communication rather than warez. And if you still want it for communication, Google Groups offers a free gateway IIRC.

    EG, NNTP may still be a huge amount of some ISPs traffic (eg, see this paper, http://www.icir.org/vern/papers/imc102-maier.pdf [icir.org] ) but it is almost ALL binary transfers.

    So its not a shock that Cox is getting rid of its Usenet servers, whats only shocking is that it took them so long.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:47PM (#31931972)

      If NNTP is a significant part of Cox's traffic, then it would be stupid to discontinue the service, because then each user (minus those who stop using it altogether) will cause a copy of the traffic to become external, where it puts Cox in a worse position for peering agreements. The store-and-forward nature of Usenet is a major relief on cross-network bandwidth, as long as users stick to network-local servers.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        That's a good thought, but it's true only if:

        a. Somebody is actually using all of those bits. If most of it is write-only (i.e. people put it out there but few read it), it can be a net win despite losing the store-and-forward.

        b. People continue to download those files. Some will switch to BitTorrent (which may be easier on them, and has some of the same store-and-forward advantages of Usenet); others will stop entirely.

        I think they're mostly banking on (a) not being true. I suspect that a lot of warez u

  • Oh, Great. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:40PM (#31931864)

    Oh, great. There goes my sex life.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by eggoeater (704775)
      Many years ago I finally got broadband via cable (it wasn't COX.)
      The Usenet service they included was sub-contracted from another company, and to keep things simple, all customers used the same id & pass to access the Usenet servers.
      I don't remember what the ID was, but the pass was what I consider to be the most ultimate inside joke ever:
      The pass was: abpe4me
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:42PM (#31931888)
    Does anybody who doesn't use IE for a newsreader expect their ISP to provide decent feeds? Anybody I know who's still there is using GigaNews or one of the other premium services.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ChristTrekker (91442)

      I've been using Netscape and then Thunderbird for news since the mid-90s. What Cox provided has been fine for the past several years. Most other people have been drifting to web forums, so I've (reluctantly) followed. But I think NNTP is a lot simpler and can do the job just as well. Time was that Usenet wasn't a premium service, it was considered pretty basic, like email.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        NNTP's weakness is searching for old threads, i.e. to save asking the same ol' question over and over in a given group. I moved away from groups a while ago, very few people were using them for communication, which is a shame. Anyone remember TIN?

        • by dougmc (70836)
          Of course. Though I now use trn and slrn ... I like trn better, but it's not maintained and it gives me some grief that slrn doesn't ...
      • by RoboRay (735839)

        ISPs still provide email?

    • I use thunderbird for news, and I absolutely consider a news feed as part of the services an ISP should provide.

      That said, mine just funnels the requests to a dedicated usenet provider.

    • To add some context, in the dial-up days, my local ISP (literally a mom and pop outfit), happily provided a full newsfeed (30-60 day retention) through one of the major providers at the time. No busy numbers, no speed issues, no download caps, 24-hour support, and a complimentary news feed, all for $15.00/month. Hell, they'd even suggest from time to time that I come into their office to download my ISOs so I wouldn't have to tie up my line.

      When I switched to ATT DSL, the improved speeds were nice, but ev

  • by Toze (1668155) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:48PM (#31932000)
    "We believe the group of customers that use this service is small enough to not be able to start a revolt, and large enough that we'll see some profit from charging extra. We would do this to the 'using Google' service if we thought we could get away with it. Please ignore how badly this conflicts with our claims that Net Neutrality would destroy the internet, and that we're a self-policing market who wouldn't dare charge people more for certain types or destinations of traffic."
    • by rdunnell (313839) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:58PM (#31932148)

      I don't see how this translates to a conflict with net neutrality.

      They aren't saying you can't use Usenet, that they are going to block it somehow or that you have to use their Usenet servers at a premium price. They're just saying they aren't going to host it and offer it as part of their service package.

      Regardless of whether this is a nice thing to do or not, it doesn't have anything to do with net neutrality.

  • Re:Who Cares (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @05:48PM (#31932004)

    Sure, you've got Google groups, but they're privately owned and moderated by Google.

    Usenet is the only distributed, unmoderated message "board" out there that isn't bound by one particular owner's or government's rules. It may not seem important now, but free anonymous and uncensored posts can be very important sometimes...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by houstonbofh (602064)

      Sure, you've got Google groups, but they're privately owned and moderated by Google.

      Usenet is the only distributed, unmoderated message "board" out there that isn't bound by one particular owner's or government's rules. It may not seem important now, but free anonymous and uncensored posts can be very important sometimes...

      I won't seem important until no one has it. Unregulated and anonymous communications are one thing every bad guy wants to stop.

      • Upvote (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have a feeling the "who cares about usenet" geeks will change their tune when ACTA arrives and ISP's are shutting down their beloved torrent sites.

  • Usenet has pretty much digressed into an unregulated binary file distribution network. People who want it for discussion will use a web based news reader. People who use it do download files in a non p2p way will subscribe though cox or somebody else.

    • by bmo (77928)

      "People who want it for discussion will use a web based news reader. "

      No. Never. You can pry my curses based news reader from my cold dead fingers.

      Web based news readers suck. Google Groups is the worst offender.

      --
      BMO

  • by Linker3000 (626634) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:02PM (#31932202) Journal

    Cox confirms it - usenet is dying

  • Usenet (Score:3, Funny)

    by jamesyouwish (1738816) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:07PM (#31932288)
    What.is.Usenet?
  • No more Usenet cabal?!? End of an era!

    Now where are we going to go for our cancel control messages?!?

    -- Terry

  • Prices (Score:5, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:00PM (#31932962)

    The $15/month is _not_ what you'll be paying.

    The real price is $30/month. It's a crazy price. It's Giganews' "Diamond" plan that has no quota and has vpn. This is the one you want if you have a peg leg, hook prosthetic, eye patch, single gold hoop earring, and a parrot on your shoulder. If you buy this, you have more money than sense.

    If you use usenet as originally intended, i.e. text only, the Giganews' price is $3/month. But then there are free nntp servers that carry only text groups anyway.

    Highwinds (Cox's usenet) has always sucked anyway. It was always slow and cantankerous.

    For those of you saying "hurr, use google groups": shut up. The interface is made of dead babies and week old roadkill. Decades old slrn is better.

    --
    BMO

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nimey (114278)

      slrn FTW.

      What anyone with sense would do is subscribe to news.individual.net for only 10 euros a year. I guarantee you'll get a better feed than Cox, provided you're not one of those binaries wankers.

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:07PM (#31933026) Homepage

    This sucks Cox.

  • Easynews (Score:2, Informative)

    by mellowdan024 (1787282)
    it works damn good
  • You know.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:11PM (#31933086)

    ...for a community that loves to bash companies about "buggy whips" and "adapt or die", we sure do love to hold onto our outdated, largely useless tech ourselves, don't we?

    Translation of the previous sentence for the benefit of Moderators: "Please mod this comment down to the 13th level of Hell"

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:07PM (#31934302) Homepage
    For those of us who use only text, paying for usenet is incredibly cheap. When my ISP quit offering usenet, I paid some piddling amount of money to astraweb.com and got 25 Gb worth of usenet access. Two years later, I've only used some miniscule fraction of that 25 Gb. Actually, I'm happier now than I was before. Back when my ISP was still supposed to be providing usenet access, it was unreliable, and when I would call their tech support, I would invariably get somebody who didn't know what usenet was. I got one guy who kept saying that I would have to call the Usenet Company and take it up with them.
  • Eh, whatever. (Score:3, Informative)

    by seebs (15766) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @02:16AM (#31936028) Homepage

    I've been buying Usenet from a provider for ages (megabitz.net). It's better than my experience with ISP-provided news was anyway.

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