TelstraClear debate fizzes again over Usenet disruption

The rumour is that TelstraClear users have over-run the monthly quota of traffic allowed and so have been temporarily cut-off

Usenet’s discussion forums, also called newsgroups, are once again seething with discontent as users of TelstraClear ISPs Paradise and ClearNet vent their frustration about alleged service limits imposed from above.

As happened in April, users suddenly found, halfway through September, that they were debating among themselves, as TelstraClear customers could only see comments posted to the newsgroups by other TelstraClear customers.

Since Xtra gave up supporting Usenet altogether last year, the TelstraClear brigade constitutes the biggest presence in the nz.general, nz.comp and nz.politics groups. Comments used to come in from all over the world, swamping local contributions. However, these have now dwindled to virtually nothing.

As in April, the rumour is that TelstraClear users have over-run the monthly quota of traffic allowed by the upstream news-provider, and so have been temporarily cut-off from the rest of the world. One nz.general subscriber even claims to have heard this first-hand from a helpdesk staffer he phoned.

Full service would be resumed on October 27, when the quota rolls over to next month, he was told.

However, others report that when they called TelstraClear’s helpdesk they were met with blank incomprehension.

“They didn’t know what Usenet was. I had to explain,” says one.

But TelstraClear spokeswoman Jodine Laing denies there is an upstream quota.

“The monitoring system did not detect that the Usenet news-feed was not updating,” she says.

“Our technicians are currently monitoring the service manually, while working on event-detection improvements. The news service has been restarted and should now resume as normal. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

The channel had indeed shown signs of recovery by late last week.

Usenet is a simple channel for exchanging news and opinions, originally in text only. Contributions appear linked to the first posting and to the postings of other respondents in a thread, so the discussion can be followed.

Usenet has been around since before the internet became ubiquitous, but among younger users it has been supplanted with other forms of online social networking, such as MySpace and Bebo, where users can easily swap images, tunes and videos as well.

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