Village News
ISSUE 60 December 1996

Welcome to our 5th Birthday Issue of Village News

Launched after the demise of Micronet on Prestel in 1991, Silicon Village has retained its position as the premier leisure and computing Viewdata service in the UK - run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts and with a unique and friendly structure based on an English country village.

We have a tradition of giving our Villagers presents on our birthday and at Christmas, and this year is no exception! The Village Elders have spent much time on choosing gifts for everyone and rather than sending you a November Village News with some of them, we decided to present the whole package in one issue for a bigger surprise.

Highlights of 1996

In April 1996, we launched the full two-way Internet Email facility for Silicon Village Viewdata subscribers; an interface believed to be unique in the industry. You can read the Launch Party report in the Town Crier's office.

In August 1996, we announced the start of new building works for our World-Wide Web site at www.silicon.village.co.uk.

In October 1996, we opened Phase 1 of our SVWeb site, which consisted of a daily automatic conversion of the whole of our Viewdata Village to WWW HTML format. This allowed anyone to browse Village publications, but only subscribers can read and comment upon the very latest information and updates as they happen.

All through the year, editors have been revising and improving the contents of their areas to keep pace with changes and modern events and to respond to what Villagers want to see and do in their Village. We have introduced several new areas and taken on new editors in Viewdata as well as gradually building expertise in HTML editing.

What's Happening Now!

From December 1996, we are improving the attractiveness of our SVWeb site with the introduction of a smart new front page, updated information, improved Village area presentation with colours corresponding to Viewdata, borders and other general improvements. The interactive attractions of Silicon Village, such as chatlines and letters, will continue to be available only through the Viewdata service.

During December 1996, we will be setting up a new Internet Visitors Demo Viewdata database, aimed at the international user, based upon and updating the existing SVDEMO on *802, and highlighting the benefits of Village life and our friendly online community.

But what of next year? I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a Happy and Prosperous 1997 from the Mayor and all at SV and JCC; and to help that prosperity, here is what we have planned for next year.

What's to Come!

All of the following changes will take effect from January 1st 1997.

Until now, we have had a complex variety of joining fees and subscription rates, dependent on location and method of access. Village Direct for direct dial to Saturn nodes at London and Reading without timecharges and Village Standard for local call access to Silicon Village via Imminus with timecharges.

In 1997, when you ask us how much something costs, we are delighted to announce that in most cases, we'll now tell you "A fiver!".

The changes have been summarised below in tabular form for ease of comparison by existing subscribers and those familiar with previous published rates for Silicon Village.

There will be a single standard subscription called Standard 97 and all charges will incur no additional VAT for UK and EU residents.

The Silicon Village joining fee will be reduced to 5. The monthly subscription for new and existing Villagers will also be reduced to just 5.

For those wishing to use Imminus FastDial or FastTrak (details of access numbers are in *FASTDIAL# *FASTRAK#Silicon Village), the first hour's usage will be free, thereafter at 2 per hour.

Studies have shown that many Villagers who used local network stayed within the 2 free hours per month previously offered; thereafter using highspeed direct dial.

Trial Accounts currently offer 2 hours to visit Silicon Village; to try out facilities and look at what we have to offer. In line with other services, we are increasing the duration of Trial Accounts, with the full use of Silicon Village services, to 30 days. If Trial Account users in the UK wish to make use of Imminus local dial services, they may prepay via credit card at the rate of 5 for two hours usage.

Our Enrol-A-Friend scheme continues - if a subscriber recommends a friend who subsequently joins, then the new subscriber will receive.. yes you guessed it, a 5 refund of their joining fee. The recommender will also receive, now who can guess the amount.. yes, a fiver! - a month's subscription to Silicon Village. Key *ENROL# for Enrol-a-friend.

Players of our popular multi-user roleplaying game, Avatar III - the Crypt will continue to pay the amazingly low gateway charge of just 30 pence per hour. Look out for forthcoming news on accessing Avatar via the Internet!

In order to sustain such dramatic reductions in charges, we will be changing our invoicing and newsletter procedures and gradually migrating to an all-electronic mechanism. The monthly Village News letter will now only be published on the Silicon Village web site and in viewdata readable form; but we will provide Villagers and enquirers a printed copy on request.

We will also no longer be posting preprinted monthly invoices in advance, but will be setting up a simpler (I can hear cheers from some Villagers!) system to mailbox or email all subscribers with notification in advance of what we propose to debit from your credit or debit card that month.

Summary of Changes from January 1st 1997

All charges are shown VAT inclusive.

Subscription:- Standard 97

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Joining Fee = 5 ***

Monthly Sub = 5

Local Network/hr = 2 **

Saturn Network/hr = FREE

Internet Access/hr = FREE

** First hour free

Pay for a whole year in advance for just 50 and get 2 months FREE

Waveguide celebrates its 11th birthday on December 1st having made its debut in 1985 on Prestel’s Micronet. The television and radio magazine has been part of village life since Silicon Village opened its gates. Once again this year, the magazine will be featuring details of Christmas programmes and films in waveguide Xtra (401400700). Details of the Christmas soap storylines are promised well in advance of the printed magazines.

 

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