Cox to Drop Free Usenet Service June 30th

Cox to Drop Free Usenet Service June 30th

Cites “declining newsgroup usage” as the reason it will become the latest ISP to discontinue free Usenet service, though partners with Giganews to offer customers who switch over 
50% off the first two months, and a 10% lifetime discount.

Cox has become the latest ISP to discontinue free Usenet access, citing reduced demand and the need to “focus” its resources on “other priorities.” If customers wish to retain the service it says it’s worked out a deal with Giganews, arguably the most popular Usenet service around, to get them a special deal.

An email to customers reads:

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.

So it’s not too much of a loss. Many regular Usenet users are already Giganews customers and could wind up getting a discount on their monthly service. Those that aren’t may not like having to pony up for a new monthly fee, but considering Giganews’ 600 day and counting data retention rate and free VPN service (VyprVPN) it’s well worth the extra cash.

The discount, according to a Giganews rep, is as follows:

  • Diamond accounts: 2 months 50% off (best otherwise is 1 month, 50% off)
  • All other accounts: 1 month, 50% off (no specials otherwise)
  • All accounts: 10% lifetime discount (never offered before)

He also says “you’ll get the discount as long as the account stays active (“lifetime”). It’s limited time offer however, that will last up until at least a “few months after” Cox drops free Usenet access on June 30th.

Last September Verizon joined the ranks of AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint in eliminating free Usenet access, though in each of those latter cases it was to specifically target the alt.bin and alt.bain newsgroup hierarchies, the ones that provide actual data files, in order to fight child pornography.

“While we will continue to provide access to newsgroups as part of our Internet Service Offerings, we will no longer include alt.bin nor alt.bain hierarchies because of the possibility of child pornography in those particular groups and the difficulty in ensuring that no child porn reappears in them,” said AT&T when it dropped its Usenet service last July.

Verizon, on the other hand, said it was dropping free Usenet access because of the “reduced demand” and the fact that “most users have switched to more exciting ways of getting and sharing information via the Web.”

At the very least Cox seems to have followed in the more rational footsteps of Verizon, and has even made an effort to try and get its customers a discount on a rather good third-party vendor.

Say what you will, but Cox, at least in this case, seems to be doing things on the up and up.

Stay tuned.

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