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Cox Communications and Atlantic Broadband Discontinue Usenet Access
April 27th, 2010

With recent news that both Atlantic Broadband and Cox Communications are dropping USENET access for customers, ThunderNews has responded with 20% discounts for all former customers of the Usenet Newsgroup access providers.

Cox Communications recently announced that they will discontinue Usenet access to customers by June 30th. Coincidentally, ISP Atlantic Broadband is also discontinuing Usenet Newsgroup access to its customers all along the east coast of the United States.

With the rising costs of offering and maintaining Usenet newsgroup servers, both companies have long offered the service as part of their online packages. Unable to continue providing access, both Internet Service Providers have made June cutoff date announcements.

ThunderNews welcomes all customers of both Altantic Broadband and Cox Communications. Details and coupon code of the special are available on our website. The current special is applicable to all monthly plans and only available for a limited time.

ThunderNews offers lightning speed access to over 106,000 active Usenet newsgroups with over 600 days of binary retention and still growing daily. With servers in both the United States and Europe, ThunderNews offers 50 simultaneous connections and a free newsreader with any monthly subscription.

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Google Soon To Begin Offering High Speed Fiber Connections
February 11th, 2010

Online goliath Google has been keeping busy as it has recently turned its versatile hand to mobile operating systems (Android) social networking (Buzz) and smartphones (Nexus One).  According to Google, it will soon build and test an ultra-high-speed broadband platform in a selection of trial locations across the United States, which will result in the delivery of Internet speeds up to 100 times quicker than current standards

Google has this week announced plans to redefine current Internet performance with a blazing fast experimental fiber network. On search engine and Google related newsgroups, they report that Google has a goal “to experiment with new ways to improve access to the Internet and make it faster for everyone.”

ISPs have traditionally considered selling voice minutes and, of late, data bundles. While so-called “over-the-top” services from Internet players such as Google have threatened ISP revenues from additional services, their core networks were never under threat. That is now set to change. Google will launch several experiments across the United States by deploying optical fiber. The search giant/world power announced it will build and test one-gigabit-per-second fiber connections to at least 50,000 homes in various locations across the US. The trial could expand to as many as 500,000 homes, according to the post. Google asked cities and states interested in joining the experiment to apply to Google by March 26 and said it eventually would build the network in a number of U.S. locations.

“We don’t think we have all the answers – but through our trial, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the shared goal of delivering faster and better Internet for everyone,” the company said. It says it wants software developers to come up with applications, including “uses we can’t yet imagine.”  Hopefully, some if not many of them could be USENET related.

Google has slowly been crossing paths with ISPs, a fact that’s been more than obvious from its series of forays over the course of recent years. However, while ISPs have always looked at Google with a sense of alarm, this latest announcement is likely to set a firm line in the sand with other ISPs.

Some newsgroup subscribers have double-checked with Google to see if a fast wireless overlay could be deployed as part of the experiment. A replied post by a Google spokesperson states: “Google’s focused on fiber-to-home right now and has no current plans for additional deployments,”

It is quite possible that Google will back down from its stated “experiment” after the initial rollout. But it’s more likely that Google will continue with a phased rollout program until it can generate enough panic amongst the ISPs to create what it set out to create. Google has had mixed results with its previous efforts to provide communitywide Internet access. In 2006, the company launched a Wi-Fi network in its hometown of Mountain View, calling the move at the time “a way for us to give back to and engage with the community.” But Google’s efforts to provide free wireless Internet access throughout San Francisco fell apart in 2007, when Google’s partner, EarthLink, backed out of the deal.

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AT&T May Want More Money To Access Newsgroups
December 9th, 2009

After announcing a 2 million customer record for the new U-verse service, AT&T also announces how it will be limiting cell data usage. The U-verse service allows a growth of bandwidth across the country that is 3x more than ever seen before. However, if you’re on a cell phone with AT&T, watch those data minutes!

Moving closer to charging special rates for data usage, AT&T is looking to charge more to access data. Especially concerning accessing USENET newsgroups on the go, the plan can have some damaging affects for some subscribers.

Verizon has had already some effect of how one looks with AT&T cell coverage. According to the commercials and there announcement, not only will you now have less areas to use your data plan, but the usage itself is looking to be further limited.

According to the Associated Press, de la Vega said that overall, 3-percent of its smartphones eat up a whopping 40-percent of the network capacity. While he defended the AT&T’s overall network performance (despite whatever Verizon has to say), he did admit to problems that still need to be addressed: problematic hot-spots that include New York and San Francisco which are crammed with data-hogging smartphones. AT&T is considering incentives to keep those subscribers from hampering the experience for everyone else.

In the height of the popularity of the iPhone and with over 5 newsreader apps available for the device, more subscribers are accessing newsgroups on the go than ever. A new fee imposed to subscribers might be enough to trade in the glamour of owning an Apple and might be swayed by the sirens of the waiting Google Android line of phones. Android apps currently carry 2 newsreaders and have phones on networks that do not impose caps or additional fees on data usage.

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Verizon Offers Free High-Speed DSL For 6 Months
November 17th, 2009

The ISP is offering big incentives toonline users who make a switch to Verizon’s High Speed Internet. Verizon plans to offer free DSL to its customers during the holiday season.

After dropping its provided USENET access and then losing 137,000 DSL customers earlier this year, Verizon is looking to earn back its business. New 1Mbps to 7Mbps DSL customers who are willing to sign a one year contract are awarded a free six months of DSL access.

Effective to January 16th, 2010, customers who sign up for the deal also receive a free modem and an additional $5 bonus.

In the press release, the company has announced a triple-play bundle offer, which includes up-to- 3 or 7.1 Mbps HSI service, DIRECTV PLUS DVR package and Freedom Essentials for just $70 per month for the first six months. The 3 Mbps and 7.1 Mbps packages being offered by Verizon also include free access to thousands of company’s Wi-Fi hot spots around the country, including various retail and high-traffic locations. None of these plans or offers includes USENET access as it did once upon a time.

With AT&T sneaking close behind by offering huge rebates and no contracts with it’s expanding UVerse service, who coincidentally also saw a sharp drop in customers after dropping USENET access, expect much more competition between ISP’s. With other companies focused on metering bandwidth, it should draw out to be an interesting 2010 on who ends up with the larger share of the DSL/Broadband market.

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Newsgroups: Net Neutrality Now!
November 2nd, 2009

The booming growth of the online world is no accident. Little to no regulation by the U.S. federal government has allowed competition to flourish, innovate and invest. But, as USENET newsgroups report, the Federal Communications Commission is considering onerous regulations that could derail all this progress.

The Federal Communications Commission last Thursday approved controversial proposed rules governing internet access during its monthly public meeting. Commissioners on all sides of the debate stressed the importance of having an open internet, and in engaging in constructive dialogue on the issue going forward.

The proposed rules also hold that providers cannot prevent users from running lawful applications or services. The agency said it is seeking comment on how it should address internet protocol-based offerings provided over networks used for broadband. The decision transformed a Washington, D.C., policy debate festering for years into a national issue pitching companies that create Internet content against businesses that own the networks.

The move has been marked by newsgroups as the beginning of a formal phase of regulating online, including USENET, access. Although the FCC in August 2005 adopted a policy statement pledging fidelity to four Net neutrality principles, such a policy was never binding upon all broadband providers.

The uncertainty over how to ensure an open Web is the latest example of how technology is moving so quickly that our regulatory institutions can’t keep up. Local technology companies and investors support strong neutrality rules, while telecommunications firms are wary of what they might mean.

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New Finland Law: Broadband Access To Everyone
October 14th, 2009

According to broadband newsgroups, the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Helsinki has pushed through a law that will force telecommunications providers to offer high speed internet connections to all of the country’s 5.5 million citizens.

Starting July 2010, Finland’s residents will have the right to broadband access. The Ministry will extend the legal right to 100Mb broadband connection for each person by 2015.

Finland is already one of the world’s most connected countries, with 96% of citizens online – but the communications minister, Suvi Linden, said that the mandate was necessary in order to improve the availability of internet in Finland’s remote rural areas. A portion of the nations high tax will go to fund the initiative.

The move could pave the way for other countries to start looking at broadband as its citizens’ inalienable legal right, akin to freedom of speech and freedom of movement. That makes a lot of sense: Most of us can no longer perform our work duties, do homework or communicate with friends without having access to the online world, especially with USENET newsgroups. People need online access to live normal lives, as Finland is the first nation to acknowledge.

France, one of a few countries that has made Internet access a human right, did so earlier this year. France’s Constitutional Council ruled that Internet access is a basic human right. That said, it stopped short of making “broadband access” a legal right. Finland is the first country to make broadband access a legal right.

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