Astraweb has been around for quite a long time now. They are a fairly well known Newsgroup server operator and according to their website they are NOT a reseller. The provide good service with a lot of different options, allowing users to pay for the features they need, and not for the ones they don’t. They started increasing their retention a few years back like many of the larger Usenet servers and have retention times that are on par with the big boys. At the time of this writing, they had 1396 days retention and are increasing 1-day every day.
Astraweb allows users to purchase their internet in two basic formats, unlimited data or block download plans. For unlimited downloads you have another option, 10 Mbit/s download speed or unlimited speed. Block plans are all unlimited speed.
Own Their Servers - Astraweb owns and operates their own Usenet servers. They are in a class sort of like the Tier-1 providers, but looking at the traffic reports, they are not part of the Tier-1 backbone, so I guess you would call them a Tier-2 provider. Regardless of what you call them, they are peered with many of the Tier-1 and also much lower tiered servers and have good article propagation for your postings.
Retention - as I mentioned above, Astraweb had 1396 days of retention when I wrote this review, and were increasing it daily. This retention is not quite as high as the largest Tier-1 Newsgroup provider, but is within 2-weeks of them. They boast of a 99% completion rate across all newsgroups.
Download Speeds - There are two options for download speeds, you can save money if you get the 10Mbit/s account, or for a little more you can get unlimited download speeds. Anyone who is on dialup, DSL or slower cable internet (10Mbit/s or less) can definitely go with the lower speed and save themselves some money.
Download Size - There are two options for download sizes as well. You can pay for unlimited speed downloads by the block, and possibly save yourself some money. Or, you can pay for unlimited downloads, for a little more money.
Encryption - Astraweb provides SSL Encryption for all of their accounts.
Redundancy - Astraweb operates server farms in both the US and in Europe. Although I have not seen it mentioned on their website, one would assume they have data redundancy between their farms just to reduce traffic between the farms when a user requests an article.
Payment Options - most usenet services require payment by credit card, however Astraweb allows users to pay by credit card, or they can use paypal and no credit card is required. This is a nice selling points for people that prefer to not have credit cards. For dutch users they also accept iDeal, which I know nothing about.
Astraweb has been providing good service for a long time, and by all accounts are very reliable with good article completion. They have a nice list of account options; Unlimited plans are best for users that download a lot from Usenet, their block plans work best for people that typically download less often, anything less than 25GB a month would qualify. Download speed options are another great feature, I don’t care if I can download at 100Mbit/s if my Internet connection is less than 10Mbit/s. And finally, providing an option to pay without a credit card can be very helpful for some users.
Operate Private servers
Farms in US & Europe