Bye Bye Binaries

Article posted on Tuesday, 07-Mar-2006 18:16 PM

PlusNet yesterday issued a service status announcement (shown below) outlining their decision to withdraw all Binary groups from their Usenet service with effect from April 3rd this year.

Due to the phenominal growth recently in binary traffic levels, the Usenet platform has been straining at the seams for some time now. According to the status announcement, growth in binary posts has been 15% in the last 30 days, and this is set to continue. PlusNet's usenet platform was never designed to cope with this amount of traffic, and as such something had to be done.

Upgrading and redesigning the Usenet platform to future-proof it against sustained growth in binary posts would not have been financially viable. They will instead be using the current hardware to retain a text-only service, which should "deliver exceptional performance and will prove a reliable offering for all of our customers in the long term." due to the significan decrease in load on the platform.

Whilst we at PUG do understand the business case behind the decision, we are at the same time disappointed. We also have concerns over PlusNet reducing the level of Value Added Services, which, whilst not a core part of the Internet connection, were once something that put PlusNet way in front of other ISPs, and something that made PlusNet appeal to the more technologically-advanced user.

We are in discussions with PlusNet to try and ensure that they don't tip the balance too much and end up forgetting the "Geeks" with their current push for more average users. 

PlusNet Service Status Announcement:

Service: USENET
Posted: Mon, Mar 06 2006 at 17:00:09
Subject: Binary Usenet Withdrawal

It has become apparent from customer feedback and from our own testing that our existing Usenet (newsgroups) infrastructure is no longer meeting the needs of those customers using this platform for binary downloads.

This is also coupled with the fact that there has been a huge upsurge in binary Usenet postings recently. For example Giganews have reported a 15% growth in binary Usenet postings within the last 30 days alone and are predicting that this will continue. Our news platform was never designed to cope with these sorts of volume, and it is clear that we would need to make significant ongoing investments in order to offer a reasonable quality binary feed.

We have investigated a number of options for better Binary provision, including re-design of our server configuration, equipment upgrades and outsourcing to a third party provider. At this stage however, we have been unable to source a sustainable and financially viable alternative. The binary Usenet service will be withdrawn from April 3rd 2006.

Therefore the decision has been made that it would be better to focus our existing investment in hardware on the provision of a text-only newsgroup service. As a result of the lower load on the same resource, and the extra redundant storage, this text service will deliver exceptional performance and will prove a reliable offering for all of our customers in the long term.

We understand that a number of customers who use Binary newsgroups will be disappointed by this step but we hope people will understand the reasons for this change and that many will benefit from a higher quality text feed, rather than a limited and incomplete binary feed.

Customers may also be interested in the following Usenet services, which offer binary Usenet services without making a charge: offer 1GB per month for free offer a free binary feed with 3 day retention

Many additional commercial Usenet providers exist within the market. Please see for an independent comparison of some popular offerings.


Article last edited on Monday, 20-Aug-2007 22:45 PM