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15 years of xs4all internet provider membership

Posted by jpluimers on 2012/01/15

Today it is the 15th anniversary of my xs4all membership.
Even though (see some history below) xs4all was not my first provider, it has been the provider of choice ever since:

  • Technically very knowledgeable
  • Very stable connection
  • Highly much aware of privacy

Back in December 1998, when xs4all was sold sold to the Dutch Telcom (KPN), lots of people were afraid that xs4all would start scoring less points one ore more of the above points.
They didn’t, and that is the main reason I’m still client with them.

This despite the  fact that I can get faster internet where I live.
My ADSL connection is quite a long distance from the telco DSLAM, so I can’t get a very high ADSL speed.
As some of the ADSL versus distance speed graphs show, your ADSL connection needs to be close to the telco’s DSLAM.
I’m not, so my maximum ADSL1 speed is slightly less than 8 megabit, and my current ADSL2+ speed is less than 16 megabit, so xs4all light is the best I can get.

BTW: If you live in The Netherlands, here you can calculate that distance (which is called “afstand tot de centrale” in Dutch).
I wish they ran the telco cables under the canal to the neighboring village: I’m about 500 meter away from their DSLAM, in stead of the 2700 meters I’m from my own DSLAM.
Oh well :-)

For high speed things, I now also have a cable connection.
Even though they are deregulating that part of the broadband market, currently cable internet is bound to your cable TV provider.
In my case, that is UPC, and their high speed internet is marketed as Fiber Power.
I started with a 60 over 6 megabit service, that they increased to 120 over 10 megabit about a year ago while reducing the price (because they were merging their packages and wanted to increase their competetiveness).

While writing this, I’m still searching for a good dual gigabit WAN router to combine the two connections in one.

Over time, xs4all increased the ADSL bandwidth from a meager 1 megabit over 256 kilobit to 8 megabit over 1 megabit.
They increased mailbox and storage sizes too.
And finally, they were among the first to support IPv6.

So all in all, I’m still very happy for staying with xs4all.

A bit of history

xs4all was not where the internet started for me.I started using internet in the late 80s even before it was called the internet.

One of the earliest things from my I found on the internet was this 1991 interrupt list showing my TBSCANX antitivirus involvementin the early 90s.
Slightly more than a year ago, I even found an older online message from me.

Some of my old email addresses are still in the internet archive:

So fidonet wasn’t the first connection I had to the internet: it was at the university; I even helped their department to connect to the internet.

During and after university, I also started to work, so I needed dial-up internet.
xs4all then became my ISP of choice, for the above reasons and because they allowed multiple incoming connections at the same time.

After university and fidonet, when I got ISDN at my rental home, I got two connections: one for voice, and one for data.
On the data ISDN, I could bundle two connections to get 128 kilobit internet.
Though I loved dial-up through xs4all, it was time to get a more permanent solution: running my own domain from home.

Back then you needed one IP address per domain, so I needed an internet provider that could provide me those over ISDN.
The Dutch branch of Demon Internet did, so I got my first permanent subdomain:

Soon after that, I got my first two own domains: and, both registered through domainit with InterNIC.

Not long after that, I decided to team up with a few friends to be secondary/backup MX and secondary DNS for each other.

Broadband internet also started with another provider.
It wasn’t because I disliked xs4all (I liked it very much), it was because at my new home there was no ISP providing broadband internet access.

The neighborhood where I live was built in the mid 90s of last century.
Back then, both the telco and the cable company forgot to dig high-speed cables in the ground.

So when I bought the house in 1998, both the ADSL and  cable provider were not prepared for high-speed internet.

An in fact, they did not start in our neighborhood, even though it consists of above average priced houses.
They started in the high-density areas because there they thought they had the best ROI.

So, A2000 (now UPC) was the first one to provide broadband internet.
It wasn’t very stable, but way faster than ISDN.
It had a drawback too: a single (DCHP) IP address.
Since the machine behind it was always on-line, the DHCP was pretty much fixed.

Having only one IP adress kept being problematic, so I was glad that in 2000, finally ADSL became available on my phone line.
It first started as KPN MXStream for the ADSL connection, with xs4all as the ISP.
I was very happy with that, finally I could use xs4all for everything,
What made me even more happy, is that I got 4 IP adresses.

Though KPN reorganized their ADSL product names, the domain still exists.

I ran ADSL and cable alongside for a while, but since the cable connection speed and stability didn’t improve, I ditched the cable.
Boy, didn’t I know that cable speeds would improve so much over time :-)

The only bad thing that ever happened to me on ADSL was that KPN (not xs4all, this was before xs4all was bought by KPN!) decided to stop serving 4 IP adresses over ADSL.
That was in 2003, and even though I protested, they moved me to one IP address.

On the other hand: port forwarding on routers had improved a lot over time, so now it was easier to do with only one IP address than a few years earlier.

The xs4all welcome email

Back to xs4all: clearly my ISP of choice.

Finally, let’s end with the original xs4all welcome email (it is in Dutch, use Google Translate to view it in English):

Received: from /dev/fd/3 by magigimmix with perl 5.003
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 14:49:48 1997 +0000 GMT
From: (XS4ALL Accounting)
Subject: Welkom

Beste Xs4all-gebruiker,

Van harte welkom bij Xs4all.

Xs4all is voortgekomen uit de alternatieve computerscene en de
mensen van en rond het inmiddels opgeheven tijdschrift Hack-Tic.
In mei 1993 is Xs4all als eerste organisatie in Nederland
begonnen met het bieden van Internettoegang aan iedereen. Daarmee
kwam een einde aan het tijdperk waarin Internettoegang in
Nederland het privilege was van slechts een handjevol gelukkigen.
Internet kwam binnen bereik van de gewone man (v/m): Access for All.

Met uw Xs4all-account kunt u gebruik maken van alle mogelijkheden
die het Internet te bieden heeft. Via e-mail kunt u berichten
versturen over de hele wereld, in de news groups kunt u
diskussies voeren, van lokaal tot internationaal nivo. U kunt
databanken raadplegen en programma's naar uw eigen computer

Xs4all heeft een eigen Internetkit samengesteld. In deze kit
treft u een aantal programma's waarmee u ook de grafische
mogelijkheden (WWW) van Internet kunt benutten. De Internetkit
draait op een pc onder MS-Windows. U kunt hem downloaden door op
de prompt het commando 'winsoft' in te tikken.  Beschikt uw terminal-
programma niet over Zmodem, tik dan 'winsoftx' op de prompt om het
met Xmodem te proberen.

Verdere informatie over Xs4all vindt u op de volgende plaatsen:

In de Message of the Day.

Telkens wanneer u inlogt verschijnt de 'Message of the Day' op uw
scherm. In de Message of the Day vindt u beknopte informatie over
aktuele zaken betreffende Xs4all. Bij het inloggen flitst deze
boodschap over uw scherm. U kunt hem echter nog eens rustig lezen
wanneer u op de prompt het kommando 'motd' intypt.

In de news group xs4all.announce

In de news group xs4all.announce worden mededelingen gedaan door
het beheer van Xs4all. Lees deze news group om op de hoogte te
blijven van alle belangrijke ontwikkelingen omtrent Xs4all.

Bij de Xs4all-helpdesk

Heeft u vragen over Xs4all? De medewerkers van onze helpdesk
staan u graag te woord. U kunt hen bereiken per e-mail, telefoon
en fax.
e-mail :
tel    : 020 - 6200294
fax    : 020 - 6222753

Uw account

Uw account is geaktiveerd naar aanleiding van uw betaling voor de komende 2
maanden of een jaarbetaling. De vooruitbetaalde periode gaat per heden in.
We verzoeken u om voor het aflopen van deze periode te laten weten of u uw
account al dan niet wenst te verlengen. Bij voorkeur via email naar het

Indien wij niets van u vernemen, dan gaan we er ook van uit dat u op het
Internet wilt blijven. We sturen u dan een acceptgiro thuis voor de
vervolgbetalingen. U hoeft dus geen eigen iniatief te nemen voor de

Wij wensen u veel Internet-plezier!


18 Responses to “15 years of xs4all internet provider membership”

  1. […] 15 years of xs4all internet provider membership « The Wiert Corner – irregular stream of stuff […]

  2. […] didn’t mention my Fidonet Pascal.028 and Fidonet Pascal activity, did write about my email and compuserve activity but forgot to mention one of my first Public Domain tools written in Turbo Pascal for Windows: the […]

  3. […] I’ve been an XS4ALL customer for more than 15 years. If this is the XS4ALL way of saying “thank you”, they have a serious business continuity issue. […]

  4. Rich Shealer said

    I think your first sentance a typo. I think you meant your 15th aniversery not your first.

  5. IL said

    Jeroen, if you are still searching for a gigabit WAN router, have a look at Mikrotik 750GL or higher from They are called younger brother of Cisco :)
    Mikrotik RouterOS is very configurable, I presume 2 WAN with load-balancing or failover is good to go. It has IPv6 support and many sorts of remote VPN. You can even install RouterOS on your own hardware.
    Documentation is quite useful, however it isn’t very extensive.

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