To use EasyNews, you have to sign up for an account. Members have three tiered account options to choose from. The Classic tier offers 20 GB of capacity per billing cycle and keeps messages available for 150 days. There's a maximum of 500 GB bandwidth available. The Plus account offers 30 GB capacity per billing cycle and keeps messages up to 200 days. There's a maximum transfer of 750 GB available. The Big Gig account has a capacity of 150 GB per billing cycle and provides access to messages for up to 200 days. There's a maximum storage capacity of 3,750 GB [source: EasyNews].
Capacity refers to the maximum amount of bandwidth users are allowed at each tier, which EasyNews refers to in gigs. Each EasyNews user account has a gig bank -- an account of the amount of bandwidth he or she has used. In a way, gigs are like currency that EasyNews members use to download content from the various newsgroups on USENET. As members use up their gigs, the gig bank displays how much is left. EasyNews lets members roll their unused bandwith over month to month, and users can replenish their gig banks to each tier's maximum in one of four ways. The easiest way is by purchasing more bandwidth. In addition to buying more gigs, users can earn free gigs by taking surveys, referring friends to EasyNews or participating in the World Community Grid project, a charity in which people donate their computers' unused computing time to help crunch data. The work is applied to medical research, feeding the hungry and other projects.
Like e-mail, USENET posts can have attachments, and many serious USENET subscribers want to be able to access those files, too. In fact, posts in newsgroups can contain so much binary information that they may be too large and actually have to be removed from the server because the data simply take up too much room. This is where binary retention comes into play. Essentially, this is the amount of time a server will store a post in a certain newsgroup before it can't be accessed anymore. All USENET providers have to choose how long to provide access to those files. People subscribe to premium services such as EasyNews because it extends the length of time members can access newsgroup postings.
Unfortunately, services like these come at a price. But if you're into USENET, you've undoubtedly experienced some of the shortcomings of standard news servers found on ISPs. If that's the case, a premium news server may be worth the money to you. As a rule of thumb, there are certain things you should look for when choosing a premium news server. In the next section you'll learn what those are.