A READER sent along the following email he recently received from his cable ISP, Comcast:
Dear Comcast High-Speed Internet Customer:
As of October 25, 2008, the complimentary Comcast Newsgroups service, powered by Giganews, will be discontinued. This feature provided customers access to 2 gigabytes of newsgroup information on a monthly basis. After this date, these customers will no longer be able to access the Comcast Newsgroups service through Comcast. Customers who have subscribed directly to Giganews for newsgroup access will not be affected by this change.
While we have seen a decline in popularity of newsgroups as customers have chosen to get information from other sources, we know a small percentage of our customers continue to use newsgroups today. If you are interested in continuing to access newsgroups, Giganews is offering a special promotion for Comcast customers.
Thank you for being a valued customer.
Information from other sources indicates that Comcast canceled its Giganews contract on September 16th. This is apparently a unilateral, nationwide service change by Comcast.
Our reader's reaction to this announcement, and we agree with him, is that not only is this censorship, it's also effectively a price hike. Any time a service provider cuts off a specific service without a corresponding reduction in price, it amounts to an imposed fee increase.
He writes, "[It is] much like making candy smaller and charging the same coin for it. This is probably why Giganews was so quiet about it as well."
The Big Media companies have been pressuring ISP companies to discontinue their Usenet services, because the MAFIAA simply can't stand the thought that some Internet users might be using a few Usenet newsgroups to share some bootleg copies of tunes and clips.
It means nothing to either the media cartels or the ISPs that most casual file sharing on Usenet probably doesn't infringe any copyrights, nor that the volume of other very useful content on Usenet is far larger, by several orders of magnitude, than any that is suspect.
Comcast is just the latest of the large ISPs to buckle under to MAFIAA pressure from the music and movie cartels, but that doesn't mean that they deserve to get away with this. µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday