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%% The BBC Networking Club %%
*What is the BBC Networking Club?*
The BBCNC exists to promote the Internet (a world-wide communications
system using computers and phone lines), to schools, colleges and any
who have not used the Internet before.
It also exists to allow the BBC to explore the Internet as a
broadcasting medium. That does not mean we will be supplying video
programmes on demand! It does mean we are hoping to offer useful
information resources for the Internet and encourage the BBC to be
directly accountable to Internet users for its output and policies.
Why doesn't the BBC have information about all programmes on the
Internet? Why don't you have Ceefax on the Internet?
The BBC is a very large organisation and currently it is committed to
making TV and Radio programmes. We hope that as knowledge and use of
the Internet increases within the Corporation, lots more useful and fun
material will become available. The BBCNC will do its best to bring
this material to you. But it will take time and lots of hard work.
*What is the BBC charging for Internet access?*
>From the 11th May, if you want to use our service to connect to the
Internet within the UK, then you will first need to buy a starter kit
and after that pay a subscription fee. The starter kits come in three
'flavours'. For PC's and their clones, it will cost UKP 25.00, for
Acorn Archimedes computers, it will cost UKP 35.00. Thereafter it will
cost UKP 12.00 per month, payable quarterly by direct debit, cheque or
*What about Amiga users?*
We have gone for Mac and PC software first of all because these seem to
be the most widely used hardware platforms. Acorn Archimedes machines
are widely used in schools and colleges within the UK, and these are a
major focus for our activities. We will start to put together Amiga
software as soon as time and money allows . . . and we will let you
know by the end of May when that should be.
*How will it work?*
You will need a computer and a modem. A modem enables your computer to
communicate to other computers using the telephone system. Once you
have installed the starter kit software on your computer -- and you
will be able to call our telephone help line if you are having problems
-- you will need to open a registered letter from us with your special
password. With the password, and your system set up properly, you can
connect to our bulletin board, called Auntie.
>From Auntie you can download further software to your computer which
will enable you to explore the Internet as a whole. This software will
include the so called "TCP/IP" software necessary to use the Internet
as a whole.
There are places called Points of Presence (PoPs) around the country
into which a Club member will be dialing. These are distributed so that
wherever possible you will be making a local telephone call. The Points
of Presence will be found first of all in Cambridge, London, Bristol,
Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. Initially, only about 35% of the
population will be within a local call charge, but as more people join
the Club we will be extending the number and range of PoPs accordingly.
Bringing a PoP on-line in Belfast is a priority.
We aim to keep the ratio of Club members to dial-in modems better than
*Why this two stage process?*
Because software to use the Internet can be quite difficult to set up.
We are trying to help people get a feel for using their modem and our
software before they are more adventurous. You will be able to use
Auntie as a place to ask other people how to do things.
*What else will be on the bulletin board Auntie?*
A bulletin board is an electronic space within a computer where you
read and leave messages with others, as well as browse information.
Auntie will become a place to talk to other people. We will be bringing
all sorts, from politicians to poets, the famous to the infamous, onto
Auntie to let you communicate with them directly.
*Is Auntie going to be free to those already on the Internet?*
She will be until the middle of May, but after that Internet users will
be asked to pay UKP5.00 per month. We hope to set up some scheme
whereby groups of people within an organisation can pay a block fee.
However, we will still be presenting almost all material for free
access to the Internet as a whole. So if you use the Internet and
decide not to join Auntie, you will only miss out on the conferencing.
*Is the BBC trying to take over the Internet?*
Not even the BBC is big enough to do that! The Internet belongs to
no-one, and it can be very anarchic. We might be helping you to connect
to it, but once you're out there crusing through the world's computers,
whatever you find is up to you. The BBC takes no responsibility for it.
The Internet is also the fastest growing means of communication in the
world. Internet use is becoming the mark of a developed and prosperous
society and the BBC feels that people in Britain should be able to
learn more about it. We would also like to use our world-wide name to
work with those countries abroad, especially in Africa, where Internet
access does not really exist.
*Why, when I pay my license fee, should I have to pay more money for
It would be great if the license fee did cover Internet access for all,
but it doesn't. It is set down in the BBC charter that the BBC can
innovate and educate, and that is what we are trying to do. BBC
Education is responsible for setting up this venture, and once the
running costs of the BBCNC have been paid, all the extra moneys we get
will go towards paying back our start up costs. These are about
UKP78,000. Once these moneys are paid back, we should be bringing down
our charges. The quicker people join the Club, the quicker we will be
able to lower the fees. We hope!
*Who do I contact if I want a subscription?*
You can fax 081-993-6281, or send a letter to BBC Networking Club, PO
Box 7, Broadcasting Support Services, London W3 6XY. You cannot, yet,
contact the organisation we are using to handle subscriptions
(Broadcasting Support Services) through e-mail, but you will be able to
before too long. Please note that if you try and send them letters
beforehand, you will not be answered until the beginning of May. We
will not be taking money from the public until we are completely
certain that our software works to our satisfaction.
*Who do I contact if I just want to find out more about the Internet,
modems and networking in general?*
You can send for a fact sheet, which includes details of other Internet
access providers, and what to look for in a modem, by writing to BBC
Networking Club, BBC Education, White City, 201 Wood Lane, London W12
During office hours you can call this office for general -- not
technical - enquiries. The phone number is 081-576-7799.
If you would like to contact the BBC press office, then please phone
Caron Jones or Joan Connolly on 081-752-5252.
*Other addresses: *
If you want to send feedback to the new series "THE NET" then please do
so to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to send feedback to the radio five live show "The Big
Byte", please contact email@example.com.
If you want to find out more about the BBCNC, please use
If you want to ask non-technical or membership questions please contact
If you want to ask about broader editorial, educational, policy or
technical questions then contact firstname.lastname@example.org.