RCN Drops Newsgroups Immediately, Comcast Starting Oct 25th

Both ISPs blame on declining Usenet demand.

Now I’m no fan of Usenet, but many are and so it’s likely sad for some to discover that several more ISPs – Comcast and RCN – have decided to discontinue offering free newsgroup services. Time Warner already did so last month.

"Yea, you could say it’s official. The news (nntp) service as provided by RCN is being phased out," writes Bryan Laird, Director of Product and Technology for RCN, in a blog posting. "In large part due to non usage yes there were a few (and by few I mean an incredibly small number) customers who used it however, several times that are using nntp service from a third party."

"Additionally for the same reasons that other MSO’s are discontinuing the service we are going in the same direction.," he added.

RCN customers are rightly upset, with one individual comparing it to SOP for cell phone companies who seem to tell you only after they do something.

The person writes:

Bryan,

I suppose it would have been proper to give customers at least a 30 day notice before terminating the service [instantly].

I reviewed several months of past statements. Could not find any indication of impending service changes.

It’s like one of the cell companies removing a feature and informing the customers after the fact.

A Comcast rep was apparently monitoring the RCN exchange on DSL Reports and decided that he should inform customers of the ISP that it planned to do the same. In fact, it was dropped immediately for new subscribers, but would be accessible by existing customers until Oct 25th.

Comcastcares writes:

The Comcast Newsgroups Service Discontinued

The Comcast Newsgroups service, powered by Giganews will be discontinued as of September 17th. Existing customers will continue to be able to access the service until October 25th.

This decision is in alignment with other Internet Service Providers that have recently terminated their Newsgroups service due to the declining popularity of Newsgroups as customers chose other methods, such as RSS feeds and web browsing to access information.

Some say the service was lousy anyways, but some are angry at with what they see as a trend by ISPs to steadily decrease services while simultaneously raising their subscription rates.

"So will Comcast be reducing our bills since the equivalent service from Giganews is $7.99 per month?," writes one respondent. "I doubt it. Comcast just takes and takes while either raising prices or restricting/dropping services."

As I said, I’m no fan of Usenet, but it is disturbing to see this trend by ISPs to narrow the services and features that they offer their loyal, bill-paying customers.

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