Usenet.net, the access provider, has passed 1,800 days of binary retention on their service. This is really quite an accomplishment, given that amount of binary retention is the equivalent of nearly 5 years of availability. For people looking for older binaries, this should be a huge asset. Just as an example, if you happen to be looking for an ISO of an older distro of open source software, you shouldn’t have any trouble, provided it was released within the time period that this provider now maintains for binaries.
Usenet.net is not the only provider that has reached this threshold in recent months, however. In fact, there has been something of a competition among USENET providers to offer more and more binary retention. Whether this is being driven by consumer demand or simply is a strategy on the part of these USENET providers to up the ante where their service is concerned, the benefits are the same.
The other USENET access providers that have upped their binary retention to these levels include:
At the same time that USENET providers have been making their services more useful, they have also been dropping prices. In fact, in the past two years, most of the good providers out there have come up with packages that offer USENET access at significantly discounted prices, whether those prices are based on a slightly lower bandwidth cap than their premium packages or on block access, allowing people to download a certain amount of content before having to purchase another bandwidth allotment for downloads again.
Some of these packages from providers are available for less than $10 per month. When you add to this the fact that they generally include SSL encryption, their own newsreader client(see Newshosting), compatibility with third-party newsreader clients and a way to search the USENET for the binaries that you want, the value is obvious. With so many companies now adding binary retention to their services in terms that are most conveniently measured in years, it’s easy to see why USENET access is becoming so popular. It shouldn’t be too long before the standard gets raised again and USENET providers start offering even more binary retention. If the trend holds, USENET users could find themselves with access to binaries spanning many years in the past, ensuring that valuable software and other freely available content is always at the fingertips of USENET users.