Prestel > Micronet 800
Image "micronet800logo.gif"

Micronet 800

Possibly the biggest, and certainly the most successful of the Prestel IPs (Information Providers).  Micronet 800 was a partnership between East Midlands Allied Press and British Telecom.  Unfortunately they never hit their target of 100,000 subscribers.

Launched in 1983 targeting Tandy, Apple, Sinclair ZX81, Dragon and RML-380Z machines, their core market quickly became users of the Sinclair Spectrum, BBC Micro and Commodore 64 - Not surprising, as these were the most successful home computers of the 1980s.  A PC package was later available, too, but because of the limitations of the graphics on early PCs, was not very successful.

Micronet was instrumental in popularising online communications with the first generation of Home Computer users.  One of their more successful promotions was giving away free modems with a years subscription - made possible by their buying the stock of the collapsed Prism Microproducts at knock down price.


Initially Micronet was intended to be in a traditional magazine style, with news pages, editorial, reviews, software etc.  Quickly, however, the ability for readers to easilly interact and give feedback to the writers quickly moved the service into a much more interactive and user-driven direction.


12 ways to profit
download pdf - view online


Submit your software
download pdf - view online
  
Among the revolutionary features introduced by Micronet were "Chatline", whereby messages from users were automatically and immediately republished so that everybody could see them and respond in kind, the "Gallery" where any user could rent their own page and publish what they wanted, and their brining MUD to the attention of the masses, through a partnership with "Shades".

Another popular feature was the Celebrity Chatline.  Many actual real celebrities were interviewed live on-line with questions being submitted by the members.  Here we have one of the last, on the occasion of Micronet's 1989 move of offices.


Together with Viewfax 258 and ClubSpot 810, they became part of the larger "Prestel Microcomputing" branding in mid 1984 whereby subscribers gained access to all three services.

Many special interest groups sprung up catering for different computers, activities, or even for rather undefined reasons!

Bee-Lines for Acorn Owners
download pdf - view online

TMMC stands for The Midnight Micronetters Club which started life as just a group of late night Chatline users, but eventually spawned an entire section devoted to their activities and get-togethers.  You can now visit them here, although be warned: it's not complete, and there are lots of links that don't work.  This is the final incarnation, from the days before Micronet closed.

Here you can access the TMMC/Micronet Virgin Users' Microsite - for new users, rather than anything to do with Richard Branson.. This still makes a good introduction for viewers today, explaining all about how the service worked.  There are lots of links into the rest of Micronet and Prestel, which we don't have, so don't panic if you get an error telling you a page doesn't exist: just hit BACK and try something else.

In late 1989, an edition of PC Plus included an offline interactive demonstration of Micronet, powered by a 16-bit DOS programme called "Axis Microbase".  With thanks to Ant for supplying a copy, and with the wonders of modern web technology, now you too can view this snapshot of the 'net!  Click here to access Micronet 1989!


Bought out by BT in 1989, Micronet closed down in 1991 when BT decided to concentrate on network service provision rather than value-added services.  The official line was to push CompuServe to the members, as shown here in the September 1991 letter.  Much of the on-line content, howver, was promoting The Silicon Village; many Micronet staff made no secret that this was where they would be found.
download pdf - view online


The Final News Item
The Final Feedback
The final letters to the editor

We're still looking for backups and archived pages, so if you have any further examples, please get in touch!

Why not check out the Brochures to see how Micronet promoted themselves.

Documents   

download pdf - view online
Viewdata and TV User, Vol 6 Issue 1, Jan 1983, page 8
"Netting personal computer users through Prestel"
Interesting article about the imminent launch of Micronet 800.  Includes the impressive "They hoped to hit the 100,000 target by March 1983"
OCR PDF  
Your Spectrum, July 1984
Sinclair User, Nov 1984
Sinclair User, Jan 1986
..and even more mentions in Sinclair User
(External sites.)
Review in Spectrum ComputingReview and screenshots from 1984.

download pdf - view online
Page with a news item regarding the "Micronet Clampdown" - BT's decision to pull the plug on the Micronet chatlines - arguably the most popular parts of their service!


more to come!


Share/Bookmark

Comments

D morgan
19 Mar 2012, 16:43
micronet shades should not be forgotten, perhaps this can be added in : it can still be played here :

http://games.world.co.uk/shades/

on my 300baud modem on my amstradcpc6128 there was something magical about this game but it needs people to make it come alive just like any mud.
d morgan
19 Mar 2012, 16:46
actually scrub that it must have been 1200 baud ? 300 is to early for micronet ?
Rob
19 Mar 2012, 16:48
LOL. Yep; 1200 baud to you, 75 baud back again.
I've got a Shades brochure in the Prestel:Brochures section - I will try and add a page about it though - you are right in that it deserves a better mention.
D morgan
19 Mar 2012, 17:28
Cheers Rob wow > re brochure I once had some kind of micronet shades box/brochure with a bigger map, I downloaded the brochure cheers :) I was playing shades today and that brochure could have helped out allot :) fantastic stuff keep up the great site. typing exits give you a list of them.
Nicholas Clements
07 May 2012, 08:52
Hi, it's great to find this place have been thinking alot about the good old days of Micronet 800. Will be 45 this year and joined Micronet 800 2 months after the Prism VTX 5000 modem was launched (on my 48k spectrum)when was about 18/19 years old.

I really do miss them days, it was so much more exicting and you felt like you were part of a big family. Now online is just another part of life and seems so dead.

Anyway hope to chat more.

Nick
Steve Manners
02 Mar 2013, 20:55
Hi,

Nice to see pages about Micronet. Myself and Andy and many of the main members from PC Support are still together in the community at www.ukexpert.co.uk

Drop in and say hi!

Steve Manners
Murrough
21 Feb 2014, 17:15
Hi from Murrough the everlasting Novice
Paul Sengupta
12 Mar 2014, 23:27
I drove past the Queens Head and Artichoke on the weekend. Happy memories! There and the Sols Arms.
Woj
29 Jan 2015, 17:26
BT bought Micronet in 198x and I'm still with them!

I must be mad!!! ;-)
Woj
29 Jan 2015, 17:26
BT bought Micronet in 198x and I'm still with them!

I must be mad!!! ;-)
*Name:
Email:
Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my email
*Text:
 
Powered by Scriptsmill Comments Script