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TypeWorker cooperative
Founded1983 (1983)

Poptel was initially an email and bulletin board service, and later a British internet and on-line services provider that was run by an employee cooperative (worker cooperative) from 1986 to 2002.

In the 1980s Poptel offered on-line communications and information services to international NGOs, working in particular with the Interdoc group.[1] Poptel was a partner in the Manchester Host and the Kirklees Host and became known as a provider of Internet services to the Labour Party.[2][3] Working with the National Cooperative Business Association of the US, it launched the successful bid to create a top level Internet domain for use exclusively by cooperatives - ".coop".[4]

Poptel was "demutualised" and broken up into smaller businesses in September 2002. Staff from the web development department formed a new co-operative, Poptech (later Fused Technologies). OSG Co-op (now Midcounties Co-operative) took over the .coop registry operation. The retail Internet Services business was merged with The Phone Co-op in 2003. In 2012 the .coop registry was transferred to the International Co-operative Alliance.[5]


Poptel was a trading name for Soft Solution Ltd, a worker co-operative founded in 1983. Poptel's first on-line service, based on the GeoNet platform, was launched in March 1986. The Manchester Host was launched in 1991.


  1. ^ Brian Martin Murphy, History of APC 2004, retrieved May 2016
  2. ^ Lord Cope, Hansard Jul 2000, retrieved May 2016
  3. ^ BBC Politics 97 1997, retrieved May 2016
  4. ^ ICANN new .coop TLD 2001, retrieved May 2016
  5. ^ ICA, 2012, retrieved May 2016

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