The NewsDemon Blog

AT&T Begins Capping USENET Customers

By Daniel Li May 3rd, 2011

Attention American USENET newsgroup subscribers: today marks the beginning of AT&T’s limited monthly data allotments for subscribers to its DSL and U-Verse broadband Internet services.


AT&T announced that it would be imposing the data caps last month and becomes the second American telecom company to do so after Comcast launched its own metering policy nearly three years ago. This comes on the heels of Virgin Media imposing bandwidth caps in the UK as well.


U-Verse — AT&T’s high-speed broadband, television and telephone network — now limits customers to 250 gigabytes of Internet usage each month. DSL users are capped at 150 GB. Customers who exceed the limits will have to pay $10 for each additional 50 GB.

Though typical broadband users don’t come close to approaching the caps now, the increase in average video consumption will undoubtedly cause a greater number of users to exceed their limits in the coming years. That could force broadband providers to raise their caps in the future if customers begin to complain.


To head off a backlash, AT&T is sending customers alerts when they reached 65%, 90% and 100% of their data allotment each month. The company is also giving customers an undefined grace period before it charges them for another 50 GB. AT&T also is allowing customers to check their data usage online.


AT&T is making a bandwidth meter available to all of its customers to track monthly usage at There are numerous reports of customers, who haven’t been able to access the meter yet, but others have been more successful, and customer representatives have reportedly said the meter should be available to everyone by today. Once it’s available, it will also display usage from previous months, giving customers an idea of what’s in store for them.


Comcast had come under fire in 2007 for cutting off service to customers who consumed a large amount of bandwidth but refusing to provide those customers with information on how much bandwidth they were able to use. That led to accusations of Comcast cutting off access to certain services including USENET, an FCC enforcement action, and a net neutrality debate that continues today.


That year, Time Warner Cable also experimented with bandwidth caps, but a public backlash prompted the provider to scrap the test in April 2009. Time Warner took some heat because its caps were relatively low – between 5GB and 40GB. The company eventually announced it would also offer a 100GB “super tier” and unlimited service for $150 per month, but by then, Congress was already up in arms and interest groups were circulating online petitions against the caps.


Some Internet companies fed up with the state of American broadband are taking matters into their own hands. Google, for instance, is deploying a 1-gigabit-per-second network in Kansas City, Kansas, without any bandwidth cap or limiting access to any services such as USENET newsgroups.

USENET Access Speeds On The Rise Worldwide

By Lionel Dietz April 26th, 2011

Connections to USENET newsgroups are on the rise with faster connections reported worldwide. According to the latest Akamai State of the Internet report, global broadband adoption and speeds continued to grow in the fourth quarter of 2010. Asia continues to dominate the list of the fastest countries, but the U.S. is also showing improvement.

The technology newsgroups report, the data was collected from hundreds of millions of connections made to 84,000 Akamai Internet Platform servers in 72 countries every quarter, shows that the average connection speed in the U.S was 5.1 Mb/s, which was up about 9.2 percent from the same period in 2009. Also, more than 75 percent of U.S. connections to Akamai during the quarter were above 2 Mb/s.

Some of the highlights and figures from the report include:

  • Taegu, South Korea ranked as city with fastest connection speed across the globe
  • Russia was source of largest percentage of observed attack traffic in fourth quarter, 2010
  • Average connection speeds increased in 162 countries year over year
  • Average connection speeds on surveyed mobile networks fastest in Greece


In the fourth quarter of 2010, the report’s analysis of the top 100 fastest cities around the world, based on average connection speeds, reflected the following:

  • Cities in Asia dominate the list, which includes 60 cities in Japan and 16 cities in South Korea
  • Constanta, Romania remained the fastest city in Europe (#56 out of 100)
  • Only 8 U.S. cities made the list. The state with the fastest average connection was Delaware at 7.2 Mb/s, and the U.S. city with the fastest average broadband connections was Riverside, Calif., at 7.58 Mb/s.


Because Akamai’s numbers are derived from a vastly deployed platform, they have been viewed as a trusted source for speed data, a much-debated aspect of the broadband reform discussion. Overall, Akamai reports that the UK showed a 9% quarterly increase on the highest recorded broadband connection speed at 16.1Mbps (30th in the world rankings). Akamai’s report shows that 22% of broadband connection speeds were above 5Mbps, ranking the UK 28th globally. Newsgroups offers its members blazing fast connections to USENET newsgroups that usually cap many speeds available by their ISP. With constant upgrades to our multiple server locations to many of the countries fastest growing connections, Newsgroups continue to be a leader in providing the fastest connections for browsing and accessing newsgroups.

ESRB Changes Ratings For Download Games

By Steve Schwartz April 18th, 2011

Reported on gaming newsgroups, the ESRB won’t look at downloadable games until after release, following a change in its the rating procedure.

Gaming newsgroups report that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) which is responsible for rating all of the games released and judging which age group is appropriate for the content of each game has been flooded by the availability of new downloadable games available each week. The system, up to now, has relied on ESRB employees personally rating each game before release. The flood of downloadable video games being created every week has become too much for the ESRB and in an attempt to streamline the ratings process a computer program will now be used to decide a game’s rating.

Previously, every game was vetted by a independent panel, and a report would then be written detailing exactly why a game received a rating. Now, publishers will be given much more power, as they will have to fill out a digital questionnaire which will then be used to determine the rating the game receives.

The computer then analyzes the readings and awards the game a rating based on the answers that were given. At the moment, only games on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network will be scrutinized by the computer. The system is designed to have no human beings to help out with the rating process.

For now, mobile, Facebook and all other types of games will continue to undergo the traditional rating process, which involves completion of a more open-ended questionnaire and review of a content DVD by a minimum of three raters who reach consensus on the appropriate rating.

Top 10 Golden Rules of USENET

By Lionel Dietz April 6th, 2011 Newsgroups celebrates the diversity of our newsgroups subscribers and the longevity of the thousands of newsgroups that exist on USENET today. In order to facilitate a better USENET experience, there are some rules of USENET that should be considered. Below are 10 of the most important USENET newsgroup rules to abide by.

Thou Shall Not Spam

USENET newsgroup subscribers are pretty crafty. Intelligent too. Spamming newsgroups with products, services or any other material that is both unrelated and unsupportive of any particular newsgroup is greatly shunned upon. Respect the newsgroups you subscribe to and chances are you’ll receive equal respect. By spamming newsgroups, you’ll quickly be dismissed by other subscribers and other penalties can be given, including losing your membership to USENET by the access provider.

Thou Shall Not Troll

A “troll” is someone who deliberately posts a message to cause disruption, argues or otherwise harasses another for either self promotion or to disrespect fellow newsgroup subscribers. It is important to note that this type of behavior is greatly discouraged and should not be engaged at any point in time.

Thou Shall Not Provide Personal Information

Newsgroups are a great place for discussion on a number of topics. As they are one of the oldest and largest community driven portals online, it’s common for them to foster friendships and even trust. However, as a rule of thumb, it’s advised to never divulge any personal information you would not want the world to know. As most USENET newsgroups allow public access, your information may be used in ways that you would not intentionally want to be used against you. Although Newsgroups employs secure, 256 BIT SSL connections for secure connections, what you post on newsgroups do not offer the same protection. Therefore, restrain from posting information such as personal financials, residence or other private information to insure your security online.

Thou Shall Not Post Off Topic

The thousands of newsgroups available cater to just about every topic imaginable. Because of this, posting material of any kind that is not relative or on topic to the newsgroup should simply not be done. Off topic messages, especially nowadays, are simply ignored and can also be considered spam. When considering posting a message to a newsgroup, be considerate and take the time to be sure that the newsgroup you are posting to is relative to the material. Newsgroups offers an extensive directory of newsgroups that can help you on your way.

Thou Shall Not Write In Caps

DO NOT POST IN ALL CAPS WHEN POSTING TO NEWSGROUPS. Newsgroup subscribers and newsgroups themselves consider this a negative practice and should be refrained upon.


Thou Shall Not Cross-Post


With the thousands of newsgroups available, there are some that are very similar to others. Because of this, in some cases, newsgroup subscribers find the material they want to post relative to a section of newsgroups versus just one. With most newsreaders nowadays, to cross-post to several newsgroups is easy and convenient. Although it may seem like a good idea, be weary. Cross-posting to several newsgroups automatically grow suspicion by subscribers and may flag the post as spam. Before cross-posting, read the FAQ for each newsgroup if available to check the spam policy and the rules of the particular newsgroup. Some newsgroups discourage cross-posting specifically. Try one newsgroup at a time for your material that is most relative. If you receive a positive response, or no response at all after a few days, then cautiously consider posting it again on another relative newsgroup. If you are new to cross-posting, this rule is imperative to make sure your reputation on these newsgroups is saved from subscribers flagging your posts as spam by the veteran subscribers which may result in your access termination.

Thou Shall Not Ignore The Newsgroup FAQ


Each important newsgroup usually entails a sometimes lengthy but all important rules of conduct for subscribers. By adhering to the rules of the newsgroup, a better sense of community is achieved and postings on that newsgroup follow an easy to read format allowing users to best utilize the newsgroup for the topic and content that are posted. It’s important to take a look at and examine the FAQ for each newsgroup you subscribe to and may consider posting to. General posts and replies are especially important in order to follow the certain guidelines that the FAQ sets forth in order to gain the response you are looking for. Most newsgroup communities follow these FAQ terms seriously and so should you.


Thou Shall Not Hijack


With the many threads and posts on newsgroups, it’s encouraged to engage the conversation with relative material. However, using the popularity of these posts to share information that is not relative to the material or to engage subscribers directly is discouraged. Do not use these posts to popularize, grab attention to or bring the subject away from the content of the conversation. Consider what you post and how relative it is to the ongoing messages. If it is questionable whether your material is relative, instead post a new topic of the material in order to gain a proper response.


Thou Shall Not Flood Newsgroups


Flooding newsgroups involves the act of consistently and continuously posting material on newsgroups by one individual.  Although there are rare instances where it may considered acceptable, flooding newsgroups with even the most relevant material for a particular newsgroup is not one that should be engaged. This is not an acceptable method of posting on most newsgroups and goes against the policies of the majority of newsgroups FAQ. Refrain from continuously posting the same or relevant information or material. Practice netiquette and allow for some time to pass before posting additional or relevant material from the time your initial post was made. This will allow users to review the content that you have posted and save you from a negative reputation on these USENET newsgroups as it may very well be considered spam.

Thou Shall Not Flame

Everyone has an opinion about something. With the thousands of subscribers on newsgroups, those opinions often times are not the same as others. The culture of newsgroups is to accept, discuss and share these differences of opinions respectfully with either like minded or those with contrasting points of view. It’s important in these newsgroups to respect others with other opinions and not engage in “Flame Wars“. Flame wars are heated arguments online that attack, belittle or otherwise disrespect other USENET newsgroup subscribers. There are strict penalties of engaging in Flame Wars and can result in permanent banning from these newsgroups and by your USENET access provider.


Following these rules of USENET will result in a better experience overall while engaging newsgroup subscribers and create a better community overall. Do you have any other rules that you feel that we’ve missed? Leave a comment below to have us add them along.

Free XBox 360 Game Console Contest Winner Announced!

By Daniel Li April 4th, 2011

Mr. Ackert is the winner of our Newsgroups Free XBox 360 Game Console for the month of March!


The drawing for the Grand Prize was chosen at random from the hundreds of entries to the contest on April 2nd. Mr. Ackert has been notified and has been shipped the new XBox 360 console.


The Newsgroups Free XBox 360 Console Giveaway ran from March 1st to March 31st and allowed users to enter once per day to increase their chances of winning.


As a tribute to all of our gamers on USENET newsgroups, Newsgroups has created these incentives to give back to the USENET gaming newsgroups community.


Thank you to all of our participants who had entered our contest.  Keep an eye out for other promotions and giveaways on the Newsgroups blog for other opportunities to win great prizes and other awards!

In-Car WiFi Allows USENET Access On The Go

By Newsgroup Usenet March 28th, 2011

Need to access USENET on the go? More cars are hitting the information superhighway thanks to new automotive Wi-Fi technology that allows vehicles to become rolling “hot spots”. You’re next red light may be an opportunity to some to check out their favorite newsgroups.

“Initially, putting Internet access in the car sounds like a distraction and frivolous but as time passes it will become a part of our lives and we will feel uncomfortable not having access,” said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecoms analyst on a post in technology newsgroups. “I think this is going to grow into a vibrant sector.”

While some manufacturers already include optional Wi-Fi hot-spot technology in their higher-end offerings, industry analysts claim that Internet connectivity will become a standard feature among most mid- to high-end vehicles in the near future.

Ford Motor Company has offered wi-fi in selected vehicle models since 2010 and some form of internet access is an option for many other automakers including General Motors, BMW, Audi, Saab and Chrysler. The technology allows users to access online channels with most mobile devices, including enabled phones, laptops and now tablets – all of them which offer mobile newsreaders to access USENET newsgroups.

Market watcher iSuppli claims that shipments of in-car Wi-Fi systems will reach 7.2 million in 2017, up from a mere 174,000 last year.

The majority of in-car Wi-Fi systems act as a Wi-Fi to 3G gateway, allowing passengers’ smartphones, tablets, and laptops to connect to the Internet even while the car is in motion. Future systems will also integrate with in-car entertainment and navigation systems, allowing the driver to benefit from instantly-updated traffic information and passengers from streamed entertainment.

Analysts expect the market to grow as more entertainment, navigation and vehicle diagnostic applications become available. However, one hurdle for developers of the technology is knowing whether to offer wi-fi as a separate data system or allow consumers to connect their own.

Virgin Media Imposes Bandwidth Cap

By Steve Schwartz March 17th, 2011

UK ISP Virgin Media has been trialling a new traffic management system that throttles upstream speeds on P2P networks and USENET newsgroups, upsetting a number of users in the process.

The ISP has long restricted download P2P traffic during peak hours to ensure a more consistent service for all customers, but the change to its terms marks a harder line approach and has already angered some customers – particularly USENET newsgroup subscribers.

Virgin said in a post that the new traffic management policy would be trialled for a period of one week starting March 2nd between 17:00 PM and 00:00 AM (12:00 and 00:00 at weekends).

“Between these times, P2P and newsgroup upstream traffic will be managed in a similar way to our current downstream traffic management. If the trial is successful we’ll launch the new policy immediately,” the company explained.

Virgin Media also invited users to give their feedback about the trials and let the company know if their online USENET experience was being affected.

It was clear that after a while newsgroup subscribers in particular were not at all happy about the trials and expressed their displeasure on the company’s user forums.

The clamp down will apply on top of the existing traffic shaping Virgin Media has in place and will affect all packages, including the previously unmanaged 100mb deal.

New Version Of NewsRover Now Available

By Newsgroup Usenet March 11th, 2011

The new version of the award winning newsreader NewsRover has been released and is available to all Newsgroups members.

The upgraded newsreader is available to all Newsgroups with the purchase or subscription to any of Newsgroups packages. Designed to run fast and save you time, NewsRover is capable of handling the simultaneous connections and SSL encrypted connections that Newsgroups offers its members.

Now up to version 16, the newsreader offers new features and capabilities to access USENET newsgroups faster and better than ever.

The focus of improvements in version 16 is for performance — especially when downloading large files through broadband connections. Also added is a pop-up image preview screen to display thumbnail pictures of JPG images as they are downloaded. Other features for both stability and performance have also been included.

For Newsgroups members, to upgrade, sign into your account and download the latest copy. Install the newsreader which will upgrade any previous version of the software you currently have installed. All settings and preferences that had been previously configured will remain in place.

The new feature is free of charge for all existing and new members of Newsgroups.

Win an XBOX 360 Game Console from NewsDemon!

By Newsgroup Usenet March 4th, 2011

The Newsgroups team has a 100% Free XBOX 360 that they want to give to you!

All you have to do to your brand new and sealed FREE XBOX 60 is to fill out the Newsgroup Console Giveaway form.

As part of the initiative to bring awareness of the benefits USENET has to offer the gaming community, and popularize further the vast number of gaming newsgroups, Newsgroups has continued on its Gaming Giveaways by offering the XBOX 360 console this month as the grand prize/giveaway.

The Microsoft XBOX 360 is one of the hottest gaming platforms around. With a huge selection of games, it rivals (if not beats) the competitive PS3 and Wii consoles Newsgroup has already awarded several games to lucky winners as part of their giveaways.

In order to secure your chance at winning, simply sign up to the Newsgroup Console Giveaway. Although entries are limited once per day, you can increase your chances by submitting your entry each day until the end of the contest.

The contest runs throughout the month of March and will end on March 31st.

ENTER TO WIN! Newsgroups Giveaway 2 Winner

By Newsgroup Usenet March 4th, 2011

Congratulations to Mr. Butler for winning the Grand Prize!

Mr. Butler is the winner of our Newsgroups Game Giveaway Contest 2 for the month of February. He is being sent out his game of choice, Call of Duty Black Ops for the XBox 360!

The Newsgroups Game Giveaway Contest 2 ran from February 2nd to February 28th, and allowed users to enter once per day and select the game of choice from their favorite platform.

Don’t forget to enter in to the Newsgroups Ultimate Game Giveaway contest this month where we’re giving away a Free XBox 360 Console to a lucky winner! Contest is live for the month of March until midnight on March 31st.

Enter Now!