Originally posted by midwinter
OK. A more helpful post...your ISP *should* provide access to usenet, but the reason people generally pay is because ISPs often weed them out (to get rid of the hacking sites, the child porn, the file sharing, etc...)
This is what makes me laugh about usenet. People hype it up saying it's the only true way to have freedom of speech because it's not censored like online forums are. Then you find out you have to pay money to a company to give you access to a limited range of groups that they decide. How is that better? I admit that some stuff shouldn't be accessed but things like hacking aren't always bad because they can uncover security flaws and file sharing can help you get a certain soundtrack that is very rare.
I would have thought the best way to access newsgroups would be in a decentralized way like Limewire. You shouldn't need to subscribe to a service to exchange information freely.
There are free usenet servers:http://www.usenet.com/articles/usenet_free.htm
but they often block a lot of groups. I personally use Google groups now and again.