What is the status of paid secure central at https://secure.central.sonatype.com ?
https://secure.central.sonatype.com is deprecated and will eventually shut down.
As of Aug 3, 2014, secure https access to Central was made free for everyone.
The pay service at secure.central.sonatype.com requires a special auth token to access content. It is normal for a request without a valid auth token to return http status code 403.
The replacement at https://repo1.maven.org/maven2 does not require a token.
For now, the old domain is still active and has a fixed IP Address of 22.214.171.124 .