Posted on 2006-10-19 21:03:09.0

It's a fact that most of the people that use the thousands of free BBS systems in this country never bother to contribute a dime towards the financial support of the systems they use. Unless they are specifically asked for money, even responsible users don't usually bother to send in access fees or contributions. This leaves most of the financial burden of running these systems on the SYSOPs and perhaps a handful of users dedicated enough to pay for the services they use.

Privately owned BBS systems are a vital part of the telecommunications picture. Many people, younger people especially, can't afford or don't want to pay $10 an hour and up to access systems like CompuServe and The Source. BBS's give these people places to call, communicate, trade ideas. More importantly, I think, BBS's are vital to the preservation of one of our basic American rights, the freedom of speech. As society becomes more automated, more computer based, access to modems and computers becomes a neccesity. Information is power, and the people that control the computers control the information. The fact that today an individual can purchase a personal computer and use it to communicate with hundreds or thousands of others is no small accomlishment. Would you rather that megacompanies like CompuServe controlled all the information going to and from your computer? It could happen, when all the SYSOPs become so disgusted with paying the bills that they give up running their systems. A lot of right-wing government and corporate types would like to see BBS's shut down for good. If they can't do it legally, they'd just love to see the BBS's fade away because nobody wants to pay to run them anymore. Can we afford to let this happen? 

Clearly, we cannot.

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