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Propagation of News

In the old days, when UUCP over long-distance dialup lines was the dominant means of article transmission, a few well-connected sites had real influence in determining which newsgroups would be carried where. Those sites called themselves "the backbone."

But things have changed. Nowadays, even the smallest Internet site has connectivity the likes of which the backbone admin of yesteryear could only dream. In addition, in the U.S., the advent of cheaper long-distance calls and high-speed modems has made long-distance Usenet feeds thinkable for smaller companies. There is only one pre-eminent UUCP transport site today in the U.S., namely UUNET. But UUNET isn't a player in the propagation wars, because it never refuses any traffic--it gets paid by the minute, after all; to refuse based on content would jeopardize its legal status as an enhanced service provider. invisible.xbm

All of the above applies to the U.S. In Europe, different cost structures favored the creation of strictly controlled hierarchical organizations with central registries. This is all very unlike the traditional mode of U.S. sites (pick a name, get the software, get a feed, you're on). Europe's "benign monopolies", long uncontested, now face competition from looser organizations patterned after the U.S. model.

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National Technical University of Athens