The NewsDemon Blog

ATT Offers Free Online Access In Times Square

May 25th, 2010

Good news for AT&T and Usenet newsgroup subscribers who hang around Times Square often, as the carrier has confirmed that it would be launching its first-ever outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot in Times Square. The hotspot will give anybody with an iPhone or AT&T smartphone unlimited online use as part of this pilot project.

Instead of thousands and thousands of people simultaneously accessing the gigs of data on Usenet over AT&T’s bruised, congested cellular network, they can use free Wi-Fi, offloading traffic and reducing the strain on the network thousands of other people are trying to make phone calls over. The company acknowledged that the network was primarily there to offset the burden on AT&T’s 3G service in New York City, which even after a deliberate upgrade plan has been oversaturated primarily by the sheer amount of use from iPhone owners. Key cities such as San Francisco have also been overwhelmed by usage to this day and, while slightly improved, may be prime candidates for the next stages of the pilot.

“With this pilot AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone, we’re examining new ways to combine our Wi-Fi and 3G networks to help ensure that AT&T customers in Times Square always have a fast mobile broadband connection to do what matters most to them,” said John Donovan, AT&T chief technology officer, in a statement.

AT&T currently offers Wi-Fi at over 20,000 locations and reports 53.1 million Wi-Fi connections on its network in the first quarter alone.


Broadband Intiative: Free Wi-Fi USENET Access Nationwide

March 12th, 2010


Could another influx of USENET newsgroup subscribers be on the horizon? At the Digital Inclusion Summit in Washington on Tuesday, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said his agency is considering establishing “free or very low cost” wireless Internet service for the entire nation.

“In order to ensure long-term American competitiveness, we must not leave one-third of the nation behind,” Genachowski said. “The National Broadband Plan provides a vision for federal, state and local leadership and partnerships with private and nonprofit communities that will bridge the digital divide and transform America into a nation where broadband expands opportunities for all.”

The FCC provided few details about how it would carry out such a plan and who would qualify, but will make a recommendation under the National Broadband Plan set for release next week. The agency will determine details later. The number of Americans online grew nearly threefold from 85 million to 231 million between 1998 and 2008, according to reports from Usenet newsgroups. The FCC plan would extend broadband online service to an estimated 93 million Americans who the agency describes as being “left behind in the digital age.” and could dramatically help grow the USENET newsgroup community.

Both the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration are charged with mapping out where broadband is, and isn’t, as part of the national plan to deploy broadband nationwide. Debate has already begun over the proposal to offer the cheap or free wireless broadband, which would involve taking back at least some of the privately owned TV spectrum.

The cost of the plan, which will be submitted to Congress on March 17, is said to be in the neighborhood of $25 billion. According to the FCC, 4 percent of American homes do not have access to broadband Internet, and three in 10 people in the U.S. do not have high-speed Internet because of factors such as price. A survey by the FCC provides a great detail of figures of those without access in the US.


Virgin Media Plans To Offer 100MB Connections To USENET

February 26th, 2010


UK members may be getting a speed bump when accessing USENET Newsgroups. Virgin Media, the UK’s leading cable, phone and internet service provider, has announced it will begin the roll-out of a 100Mb broadband service, the fastest available commercial product in the UK, by the end of 2010.

Various ISP and UK related newsgroups have posted that Virgin Media has added 34,200 new cable TV subscribers during the last quarter, taking the provider’s total market share to over 3.7 million. The television and broadband provider has indicated that it will introduce the high-speed internet offering to households across the country by the end of 2010. Its flagship service will also be around 24 times faster than the average speed offered by other internet service providers.

According to Virgin’s website, that would suggest no limits on downloads at all. On the face of it, the policy avoids various peak time traffic management tactics that reduce line bandwidth once a certain transfer threshold has been breached. No word on how USENET related traffic would be handled with this upgrade. The group claimed the service would allow web surfers to download a music album in as little as five seconds, an hour-long TV show in 31 seconds and an high-definition movie in less than eight minutes.

CEO Neil Berkett said: “There is nothing we can’t do with our fiber optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100 megabits service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience.”

In late 2008, Virgin made its real move to compete with DSL and emerging fiber-based broadband services with its 50 Mbps downstream service, which was more than twice the speed of its 20 Mbps tier.

The new 100Mb service will help the UK catch up with other markets that are pushing ahead with broadband, such as Japan and Korea, which are rolling out 1 GB broadband.  Virgin added a total of 28,600 new subscribers in the last three months of last year, the biggest increase since the company’s creation through the merger of NTL and Telewest in 2006. With this new rollout, expect USENET access and activity in the UK to increase significantly.


ISP Newsgroups: 02 Announced USENET Throttle

October 12th, 2009


United Kingdom broadband provider O2 will begin throttling USENET newsgroups between 8PM and 11pm. Customers will experience slower access times to certain services during these hours.

On the O2 website, the company has stated that due to heavy traffic from some users, it has prevented or slowed access to what they deem to be “priority” traffic to email and social networking sites. They state that growth of online traffic has put a strain on their network.

The company had announced that they would begin rolling out the throttle program beginning today. Customers of the broadband provider may very well experience slower speeds to particular online destinations, including USENET newsgroups.

The site clearly states that all NNTP and other protocol and port traffic related to newsgroups would experience a slow down during the 8-11pm time period.

Since the announcement, ISP newsgroup discussions have begun stating their displeasure with this recent move, threatening to leave the provider.

This is the first time that a UK provider has imposed a throttle on ports. The US has experienced throttle campaigns by major players Comcast and Time Warner Cable which are still being tested out in certain regions.


Verizon Announces Newsgroup Service To Be Discontinued

September 1st, 2009


Verizon has begun to notify customers informing them that newsgroup service provided by the company will cease by September 30th.

Verizon had late last year discontinued access to a number of newsgroups. Many have speculated that this termination of service was imminent. Customers will continue to have access to post or view articles on the Verizon USENET newsgroup service until the termination date. Newsgroups is offering a 20% discount to all Verizon customers. Simply copy the coupon code below at checkout for any of our subscription based plans.

Coupon Code: hearmenow Newsgroups welcomes all Verizon customers who wish to continue to gain access to valuable resources available on USENET newsgroups. The discount is valid for the lifetime of the subscription.

Earlier this year, Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T had also discontinued USENET access. As maintenance costs rises for supporting USENET newsgroups, many internet service providers have opted to drop access for its customers.


Comcast Shutsdown Usenet Access For Customers

October 12th, 2008

Comcast has recently announced that they will no longer provide free Usenet services for its customers. The service, which officially ended on September 17th, has been extended to use until October 25th. A recent statement from Comcast reads:

‘The Comcast Newsgroups service, 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.’

This move comes in tandem with other earlier announcements of Comcast that state their position of moving away from the Usenet arena.

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