Tuesday, February 15, 2005

a usenet era ends

News.Individual.NET - Registration

Dear users of News.Individual.NET,

effective from April 1th, 2005, use of News.Individual.NET will
not be free of charge anymore. The news service will continue as
a fee-based service.

The details:

Effective immediately, registration for our news service is only
possible through our web site:


Registration by e-mail (as hitherto) is no longer possible.

Holders of existing accounts who want to continue using their account
need to convert it into a pay account. This is also only possible
through our web site:


You will also find all details on payment options, terms of use, and
terms of contract on the web site.

The time until March 31th, 2005, is a transitional period so that
holders of existing accounts will have plenty of time for convenient
conversion. Sign-up for new accounts or conversion of existing accounts
made within the transitional period (before April 1th, 2005) will not
cause any disadvantages:

Contracts concluded within the transitional period will last until
March 31th, 2006 (Annual Subscription) or June 30th, 2005 (3 Months
Subscription) without additional costs. Then the contracts will auto-
matically renew themselves for another year or another three months

Important notes:

Effective from April 1th, 2005, all non-converted accounts will stop

Users who use the server News.CIS.DFN.DE as part of the DFNNetNews
project are not effected by the changes described above. Nothing will
change for these users, they do not need to do anything.

The fee:

The fee for an account for News.Individual.NET is 10 EUR per year
(annual payment), that converts to only 0.84 EUR per month. The price
includes VAT at 16%.

The background:

The tradition of running news servers at Freie Universitaet Berlin goes
back as far as 1989 (historic keyword: "Methan"). The news service was
open for external users ever since: Until 1992, there was no access
restriction at all (as usual at that time). Later, a basic access
management where IP numbers and domain names were added on request was

Starting with the CIS project (a third-party funded project of DFN)
of ZEDAT of Freie Universitaet Berlin, the news service was expanded
by the feature of registration for individual users in the beginning
of the year 1998:

News.CIS.DFN.DE was born. (*)

(*) see Message-ID: <6apqmg$rbe$1@fu-berlin.de>

After the CIS project was finished in mid 2002, the administrators kept
this service alive by maintaining it mainly in their spare time. Since
this was not sustainable in perpetuity, options on how to raise money
from external people and institutions for the provision and maintenance
of the service had to be researched and created. Several approaches to
find sponsors for the service eventually failed, especially due to the
lack of understanding by the potential sponsors for the nature of Usenet.

Since July 1th, 2003, ZEDAT offers - again in cooperation with DFN - news
services to other research and education institutions for money (service
name: "DFNNetNews"). In the course of this cooperation, the server name
"News.CIS.DFN.DE" vested exclusively to DFNNetNews:

"News.Individual.DE" and "News.Individual.NET" are the new server names
under which the service is available for the more than 250,000 external
individual users that were registered since the beginning of 1998.

After a long evaluation and preparation period, the service will convert
to a fee-based service for these external individual users effective from
April 1th, 2005. We regret that it is no longer possible to offer this
service free of charge.

We would be very happy if our service convinced its users of its quality
and of the engagement of its operators during the many years of its
existence so that they decide to stay our users even if the service is not
free of charge anymore.

Besides, we would - of course - like to thank all people that recommended
our service over the years and used it responsibly and carefully in the
spirit of Usenet!

Best regards,
the NetNews Team of Freie Universitaet Berlin


CIS = DFN project "Center for Information Services"
DFN = Germany's National Research and Education Network
ZEDAT = Computer Center of Freie Universitaet Berlin


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