Rogers to End Access to Usenet

10 Nov ’05

Rogers is quietly ending access to the Usenet on December 15. Customers were apparently not directly notified – an alert customer noticed new information posted to a Rogers FAQ. The ostensible reason:

Internet technology is constantly changing. Usenet was one of the earliest forms of user discussion on the Internet, but today has largely been replaced by blogs, instant messaging, personal web pages and other tools. As a result, fewer and fewer people are accessing Usenet.

Therefore, Rogers has decided to stop providing Usenet service to Rogers Yahoo customers effective December 15, 2005.

Oddly enough, BroadbandReports.com states that the original explanation included a second reason:

as a member of Canadian Coalition Against Internet Child Exploitation (CCAISE) Rogers is committed to reducing the effectiveness of Usenet as a distribution vehicle for child exploitation images.

The current FAQ doesn’t include that explanation – was it deleted after an outburst of customer frustration? In any event, it’s a laudable motive, no doubt, but if it’s true, as many disgruntled customers have commented, why not shut down access to the web as well? Surely the real motive was that few users use it and those who do use a disproportionate amount of bandwidth (for warez, music, etc.). As one annoyed observer posted on BroadbandReports.com:

As always they are using one thing (Child exploitation) as an excuse for another. Usenet requires a lot of bandwidth (especially binary newsgroups) for meaningful retention and the servers should be closely watched and upgraded regularly (storage, bandwidth etc.) This is probably the real reason.

The news server problems have been a on again-off again constant issue on Time Warner Austin cable discussion group on Yahoo Groups.

There is still a lot of value outside of binary groups. They could drop groups that carry X-/R- rated material and leave access to others available if children was the real concern.

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