Usenet account types are a bit reminiscent of the old types of Internet subscriptions that used to be offered by ISPs. Today, just about every ISP offers an unlimited amount of data download to their customers every month.
The Usenet services available, however, have different ways of allocating usage. While there are unlimited plans available, there are other options which are a great way for casual users to save a bit of money on their subscription and still get plenty of usage.
A Usenet account that offers service with no ceiling on the amount of bandwidth a user may take up is called, sensibly, an unlimited account. These accounts are suitable for those who wish to use these services for downloading and uploading large files.
These are generally the subscription types used by very advanced users and, therefore, there will be little in the way of browser-based features that allow the user to explore the newsgroups. These subscriptions usually run around $20 per month and are great for those who spend a great deal of time online. For most users, they may be a bit more than is really needed.
A metered account works somewhat like the old dial-up Internet services excepting that, instead of time being metered, gigabytes are metered. The user will be allocated a certain amount of download in gigabytes on various plans. This may be a daily, weekly or monthly limit.
These plans have the advantages of lower prices and, oftentimes, more features. However, they also mean that, if one doesn’t use up all their allocated bandwidth, they simply loose it at the end of the metering period. If one chooses this type of plan, look for a provider that allows the allocated amount to be “rolled over” if it is unused.
A block account means that one simply buys a block of bandwidth that they may use at any time. For instance, one may purchase 10GB of download bandwidth and sit on it for as long as they like. These are good accounts for those just experimenting with the system to see if it’s to their liking.
If they turn out to be a newsgroup junkie in the making, they can purchase an upgraded account or simply purchase another block of download bandwidth and continue browsing. The advantage with this type of account is that the block will be available for a very long time after purchase.