Usenet has been in decline for years now; people are switching to Web
boards instead. Web boards are kinda nice in that they allow you to edit
your post up to a certain time after posting, and allow pictures/videos to
be directly embedded. But Web boards are so heavy on graphics and you get
very little content for the screen space they consume.
If you don't mind paying for continued (ad free) Usenet access, Altopia is
half the price of Red Orb. It's what I use. For six bucks a month, it's not
worth canceling, so I just keep it going.
Others prefer Eternal September, which is a free service. I'm told it's not
always reliable, but I've never used it, myself.
I use DSL Extreme as my ISP, which includes free newsgroup access. Far
as I know, they serve most, if not all of the US.
I switched to them just over 5 years ago when Verizon dropped
newsgroups... and have been happy the whole while.
However, I use Gmail, and OpenDNS, and can't speak for DSL Extremes mail
& DNS servers. I did hear through the grapevine their mail is now
handled by Google.
One of their tech guys once told me my actual DSL service is provided by
Verizon under contract.
Have only had need to call their tech support twice, and both times
quickly got through to real english speaking, non script reading, common
sense & good judgment using, sharp tech guys. It was astounding... and
no crappy attitudes either! I kid you not!
As always, YMMV... just my .02 worth.
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