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Thread: Blocknews 100GB/$20 or Astraweb 120GB/$25?

  1. #1
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    Recent changes in my budget have forced me to cut expenses considerably...and one thing that had to go was my unlimited Usenet account...I know I know, I should have given up eating 2 days a week, but I am a big guy. ...

    Anywho, instead of giving up on usenet completely for awhile I realized I could simply cut my downloading habits down considerably and just get a block account and make that last for awhile.

    I think I have it narrowed down between who to buy from...but I have not purchased a block account in forever so I may be missing something.

    BlockNews 100 gigs for 20 bucks OR Astraweb 120 gigs for 25 bucks. Any other options out there? Blocknews will have higher retention than Astra in the end..although 35 days really isnt all that big of a deal...Neither one of them expire.

    Has anyone used BOTH services before and can comment between the two? I know there is a lot of Astraweb fans here, but please remember this is not for an unlimited account...I may be downloading a gig or a gig and a half a week at most so. Thanks a lot!

  2. Newsgroups   -   #2
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    I've used both before and the level of service seems pretty much the same, I guess I would go with who has the higher retention but neither of them have actually reached their retention targets and one of them might announce another increase just before they reach it, so y'never know. I have taken a look at both their websites and Astraweb looks like a better deal, you get 8 more connections and free headers. Keep that in mind if you're into downloading headers.

    Honestly though, it is upto you. Both are offer great service
    Last edited by UsenetGuy; 05-17-2009 at 09:19 PM.

  3. Newsgroups   -   #3
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    Unless you need something very small (like for text or pics, surely not video even divx much less full dvd's), and figuring that your ISP/transmission costs (whatever method or speed/capacity) remains the same, then block accounts (btw, giganews doesn't offer block accounts at all anymore), are pretty much history at this point.

    The benchmark is surely Astraweb at $11/month unlimited. Even although they (Astraweb) still offer bocks, at $10/25gigs, it's again, targeted at really small uses. 25G = some 50 uncompressed CD's (who knows how many MP3s), but only about 3 full uncompressed DVD's.

    Also look at what you're paying for transmission; Most folks line rate is really bloated, in that the % cycle is really low; how much time is the line simply sitting there, neither transmitting or receiving, for x hours per day? And utilized at or near 100%, what is the 'ultimate' total transmission...? When I d/l (which is almost 100% of the time) my d/l machine runs 24/7. All those night-time hours are used to the hilt. But my line speed is fairly low, but I utilize it again, to the hilt.

    So, you might take a look at your operational efficiency while you're belt tightening. My usenet costs, with the Astraweb deal, are the cheapest part of the puzzle when up against ISP and other 'consumables' like electrical and blank dvd's...
    Last edited by Beck38; 04-13-2009 at 07:33 AM.

  4. Newsgroups   -   #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck38 View Post
    Unless you need something very small (like for text or pics, surely not video even divx much less full dvd's), and figuring that your ISP/transmission costs (whatever method or speed/capacity) remains the same, then block accounts (btw, giganews doesn't offer block accounts at all anymore), are pretty much history at this point.

    The benchmark is surely Astraweb at $11/month unlimited.
    Perhaps he can't afford $11/month, hence why he would want a block account.
    Last edited by UsenetGuy; 05-17-2009 at 09:19 PM.

  5. Newsgroups   -   #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by UsenetGuy View Post
    Perhaps he can't afford $11/month, hence why he would want a block account.
    We don't know what the application is, but....

    In the US, unlike Europe, internet line (ISP)costs are not subsidized by the government, plus the size of the country is such that the line (isp) costs are pretty much around the same (high to very high again, compared to the subsidized costs in Europe/Britain).

    Although he didn't say, the lowest cost (and lowest speed) is around $15/month for 768k/128k DSL or a bit faster (but with other problems like delays and other 'neat features' with cableco internet), when 'bundled' with video service(s).

    But like I said, block accounts would only be usable (say, the >$10+ would last multiple months) if the d/l'ing was very minimal. There are a lot of 'unknowns' with the problem as stated, but again, the usenet server account is the lowest/cheapest part of the 'mix' of monies spent.

    Perhaps the OP can get back with a bit more of a breakdown in costings.

  6. Newsgroups   -   #6
    maybe he's the type of person that only downloads a small amount each month, like 5 gb, whihc would obviously be cheaper for him

  7. Newsgroups   -   #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by piratebot View Post
    maybe he's the type of person that only downloads a small amount each month, like 5 gb, whihc would obviously be cheaper for him
    True, but he did say the magic word, 'downloading'...

    I have (still good) block accounts from over 10 years ago when I used to chase 'fills' (the servers/usenet system were nowhere as good as today).

    But you're right, it all depends on the amount of traffic. But as the line/ISP costs are a pretty set number for the lowest speed (even if they are getting that as a bundle), the server costs (added on) above that are a very small amount.

    Unless we're talking dial-up. But the cheapest dial-up is right around $10/month v. the $15/month for the cheapest DSL (or bundle from a cableco).

    The cheapest total for both line/server costs is about $25/month, any lower than that is pretty much a 'forget all of it' proposition.

  8. Newsgroups   -   #8
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    I have always used block accounts with Astraweb for fills. They last me a long time. I still can't give up Easynews even with the problems they are have had and are having because of the web interface. There is no other Usenet Server that has such an awesome web interface with so many features like Easynews does.

  9. Newsgroups   -   #9
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    Hi! Thanks for the discussion. Basically, I have canceled my home ISP altogether because of cost constraints right now. For internet access, I am connecting my computer/laptop to my cell phone through tethering. I get 3G speeds most of the time. While it isnt mega-highspeed it serves its purpose for everything I do now (or have limited myself to doing). Essentially, I have cut out the internet expense altogether as my cell phone bill will not increase at all.

    Since I am using my phone as my internet source...I really can only do extended downloads (mainly Usenet) when I am sleeping and do not need use of the telephone. I am not suppose to be tethering to begin with so I am trying to keep excessive usage down.

    Like I said, I will only really be doing MAYBE a gig a week from usenet...essentially just getting a certain TV show I like. I realized everything else I was getting before was simply being burned and put away to "watch later"....later and later and later. Now it looks like I will be catching up on that stuff.

    With spring and summer fast approaching I do not think this will be to difficult...I will prolly resubscribe once late fall and the dead of winter is back upon us.

    As for who i went with...number of connections is of little importance to me since my data speed on my cell phone is less than 1 MBit...even when I had high speed net..I never needed more than 10 connections ever so.

    I really had no way to choose between Astra and Blocknews except based on price and support. Blocknews had them beat on price. For support, I tested them out and had a response in about 10 minutes on Easter Sunday no less...I dont know if it is still the case, but it used to be Astra didnt have any support on the weekends which left me hanging one weekend last year. With those two in Blocknews favor..i went with them for 2 100 gig accounts...everything is great..so it looks like I am set until the end of summer or so!
    Last edited by hdjunky; 04-13-2009 at 10:09 PM.

  10. Newsgroups   -   #10
    SonsOfLiberty's Avatar The Lonely Wanderer
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    It's still cheaper for $11 a month..

    100GB/$20 or Astraweb 120GB/$25
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