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Telecom Gold (sometimes also known as BT Gold) was an early commercial electronic mail service launched by British Telecom in 1982. It was based on Prime minicomputers running Dialcom software (ITT Dialcom was later acquired by BT in 1986). The system offered various services, including e-mail to and from other Telecom Gold users and those of Dialcom services in other countries, and other e-mail systems such as Sprint and integration with telex, fax, online databases and an experimental OCR system for a short while. Later, X.400 functionality was added.
Users would dial into the system using a conventional modem and terminal emulator. Alternatively, users could dial a local number and connect via the PSS X.25 network. The X.400 services also had a Mail User Agent which ran on IBM PCs and compatibles.
The service eventually became obsolete with the growth of the Internet.
During the 1980s, BT Gold hosted one of the first online communities. Users communicated using a noticeboard (noticebd) and via a simple chat facility which allowed real-time conversations to take place. The BT Gold community was worldwide, but the majority of users were in London and used to meet regularly at "eyeballs" (coined from CB usage).
- BT Connected Earth history of e-mail
- "British Telecom Seeks to Drive Dialcom Investment Harder in Deal with Prime", Computer Business Review, 25 October 1988.
- Sinha, Indra (1999). The Cybergypsies: love, life and travels on the electronic frontier. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-81929-5.
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