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Telecom Viatel

Uncategorized February 9th, 2009

Viatel was my introduction to networked computing in Australia in the late 1980s. The trusty old Commodore 64 sucked down those pages line at a time through the 300/75 baud modem. Yes, that’s 300 bps down and 75bps up…

Then came BBSes and FidoNet and the blazingly fast 1200 baud modem and the NEC APC-III (Advanced Personal Computer, with IBM incompatible MS-DOS [until you bought the SLE])… but that’s another story…

9 Comments to “Telecom Viatel”

  1.   Mark | July 15th, 2009 at 4:47 pm     

    Is that the dad from Hey Dad??

  2.   Mark | July 15th, 2009 at 4:47 pm     

    Haha, ignore me, I didn’t even notice the title of the Youtube clip itself.

  3.   Hermit | August 20th, 2009 at 9:47 pm     

    Ahhh….those were the days!

    Viatel was waaaaay cool.

  4.   Martin | August 25th, 2009 at 2:15 pm     

    Ah, Viatel. I was cleaning out my filing cabinet when I found some old copies of a newsletter called “Signet”. It was a publication for members of the service on Viatel called “Microtex 666″.

    So, I decided to google it and see what mention or archives of the service were out there. I got two hits – one to a personal website of someone, and this.

    Viatel, if I remeber correctly, ran on a unique modem standard of 1,200/75 bits/sec, not 300/75. Certainly, it did for me when I bought my first modem, a Nice Modem II, which ran at this speed. This was in June 1986. It cost me $499. At CPI we’re probably looking at close to $3k in today’s money.

    It was an amazing experience for someone who never saw an online service before. But it was also expensive, something that Telecom, nowdays Telstra, seemed to excel at.

    Thanks for the video. It brought back memories.

  5.   witjuti | October 23rd, 2009 at 10:57 pm     

    Martin : You are correct , that service did run at 1200/75 baud . I still have my old modem :-)

  6.   CorpAu | February 19th, 2011 at 12:41 pm     


    Just made reference to your article comparing maccas free wifi to viatel.


  7.   Dermott Banana | May 24th, 2011 at 10:30 pm     

    Who would ever need more than 1200 baud???

  8.   Peter Deane | July 23rd, 2012 at 1:28 pm     

    Martin’s right, in Australia we used 1200/75 for Viatel – my first Bit Blitzer 123E used to do 300 Bell, 300 (Normal), 1200/75 and 1200. I bought it to do viatel in 1988. As it turned out, I never subscribed to Viatel because once I got the modem I used it to call that experimental sort of thing called a BBS, and had more fun for free than Telecom Viatel ever could offer at inflated prices.

    Another big competitor for Viatel came with Teletext, which again was free, albeit only one-way. However at 75 bps UP from the user, Viatel wasn’t going to be all that interactive anyway. I can TYPE at probably half that speed!!

    As for 1200 bps being fast enough, well, I used to be able to read an ASCII send at 1200 bps; when I got my 2400 modem, I couldn’t keep up reading at that speed – not that that was probably a bad thing :-)

  9.   Steve | February 10th, 2013 at 1:23 am     

    I’m an old Telecom Viatel subscriber. I used to access it with a Commodore 64. Microtex 666 is where I hung out. (And in their old Hotbox forum or whatever it was called).


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