Comcast Joins NY's Anti-Newsgroup Crowd, Shuts Off Access

Comcast has joined pretty much every other ISP in New York by shutting off access to newsgroups, effective two days ago, although current users will still have access through October 25th. A lot of stories on this topic have focused on how New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has led the overall “crackdown” due to kiddie porn, but we think this is really just a politically convenient business decision to cut costs on a service that’s declining in popularity. DSLReports seems to agree, and they offer some advice on where you can get affordable newsgroup access now that your ISP is no longer footing the bill.

Bill, who sent us the tip, writes,

Note that to replace this service, a person would have to buy at least a $7.99 per month service from a Usenet provider. But Comcast is not going to lower the price of their Internet service to compensate customers for the loss of Usenet access.

(Photo: Getty)


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  1. humphrmi says:

    RCN also turned off their news servers, this Monday, without notice. After some complaints on DSLReports, they apparently turned them back on later in the week. I don’t expect them to stay on very long – with the push from AGs I’m sure the ISPs are chomping at the bit to dump this expense.

    Sigh. I miss comp.misc.

    • nicemarmot617 says:

      @humphrmi: I’m not surprised to hear RCN would pull such a thing. They were throttling my BitTorrent two years ago, way before I ever even heard of such a thing. It wasn’t until I moved and switched to Time Warner that I realized what had been happening. And if they’ll do that you know that they couldn’t care less about any newsgroups. After all, people complain about them in those newsgroups!

  2. Ben_Q2 says:

    Its funny back in the 90s I used to bring in the groups to S. Ca. It was full of porn sure, but its how I was able to put a master set of guy hebert cards together. It was always something the ISP had to pay for, and what most people did not know is really why. All newsgroup severs have or has to hold all the newsgroups. Can anyone say Many TBs per day?

    alt, bin, etc would come in so fast that it would lock up the hard drives. We used to have to reboot the servers every hour.

  3. ElizabethD says:

    It is totally worth 10 Euros per year to me to subscribe online to the “German news server”. It carries a zillion newsgroups and is reliable. I’ve been a subscriber for years.


  4. Watcher95 says:

    Then again, ISP provided newsgroup access is normally pretty lame compaired to a premium newsserver. Much higher completion and retention rates.

    I switched to a pay service years ago and never looked back.

  5. Goatweed says:

    why is there no outrage over the cable companies not lowering their rates, considering they are providing less of a service now?

  6. Laffy Daffy says:

    Comcast had a problem a few months ago and the link to Giganews was severed. I called Comcast support and spoke to three people at there who had no idea what I was talking about — never heard of Usenet, never heard of newsgroups, flatly denied Comcast had any such service. Incredible.

  7. nybiker says:

    Verizon is only sticking with the Big 8 of news groups as noted in this announcement on their website:
    “On 06/24/2008, Verizon will be modifying its Newsgroup offerings to only offer groups in the Big-8 Newsgroup hierarchies, which are listed below. Users will not be able to post or download from any other newsgroups.


    More information on the Big 8 hierarchies is available at

    The 0.verizon.* newsgroup hierarchy will also continue to be available.”

    I guess part of the loaf is better than no loaf.

  8. WinnipegDragon says:

    Premium server – $10/mo
    NewsBinPro (or your choice of robot) – $60 – Free

    Any show/movie/software you could imagine? Priceless.

    UseNet will never die.

  9. FLConsumer says:

    I don’t get the outrage? I get all of the kitty porn I want from [] .

  10. winstonthorne says:

    If this happened to a DSL customer, could they, in theory, argue that it’s a “material difference” and get out of their contract early? If so, that’d be pretty sweet. (I’m not a DSL man myself, but I know a lot of people are stuck in 3-year contracts).

  11. Brazell says:

    I use … it’s pretty great + Newzbin, split with my roommate like $4/month.

  12. While I was in Russia, our ISP flat out blocked all newsgroup access, oh yeah and just about everything else. It was sweet

  13. lannister80 says: $15/month for unlimited downloads.

  14. elislider says:

    giganews ftw

  15. maxx22 says:

    Time Warner did this a few months ago. One day’s notice. Not a word here (although I sent it in).

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    It seems if BitTorrent is such a “problem”, they’d want to keep alternatives to BT available. If, y’know, they were a service industry.

  17. kc2idf says:

    It’s really the shrink ray, now isn’t it?

  18. Not Alvis says:

    Not only did Verizon turn off alt.* access, they raised my FiOS $96 a year

  19. Google Groups has allowed free Usenet access for everything except the binaries groups ever since they bought

  20. MarvinMar says:

    10 Connections / SSL Included
    105+ Days Retention
    $14.95 per month

    my plan
    20 Connections / SSL Included
    105+ Days Retention
    $17.95 per month

    Sign-up here []

  21. Ashcan says:

    Comcast provided all their customers with a Giganews “Bronze” monthly package for free, which normally sells for $7.99 a month direct from Giganews. But I bet Comcast is not going to lower my bill $7.99 a month for the loss of the service.

  22. StevieQ says:

    I’ve been using Giganews for many years, and the service and cost is excellent.

  23. ncboxer says: 13.33 a month/unlimited. Maxes out my cable connection every time.

  24. orlo says:

    If Cuomo was serious he’d encourage Usenet access and track down those who upload child porn. Oh, and maybe follow the chain until he finds those producing it. Driving things more underground is good for the kiddie porn business because prices will go up.

  25. BearTack says:

    Andrew Cuomo is the barbarian who ran a sword through Archimedes. An abuser who uses children as both sword and shield to achieve political ambitions, and without thought for the damage done.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Here is a list of specials offered by premium Usenet providers to Comcast customers and others affected by ISP’s cutting newsgroup access: