Neighbors on the net
Bulletin board set up for the locals
Want to chat about local news? Read up on community events? Do you have "even the most
primitive computer with a modem?"
If you answered yes to all three of these questions, Mousam River Community BBS may be
your link to local life.
The new, Kennebunkport-based computer Bulletin Board System (BBS) went online last week,
but Monday was "really the first day," said John Maguire, system operator.
Free to any user for 30 minutes each day, Mousam River Community BBS aims to be a
gathering place for conversation and help. Maguire said he is including local chat areas
for Biddeford/Saco, the Kennebunks and York County.
So far, about 20 users have accessed the local board, which, according to Maguire, is the
only place where residents can meet via keyboards and computer screens.
"There is no local place to chat on the Internet," he said. "I think the residents need a
place where they can exchange ideas without having to have the latest in computers and
The idea to start up the local BBS began last September after Harbour Lights BBS in
Kennebunkport closed and state funding ran out for the COPS community BBS in Kennebunk.
Maguire, who was system manager for Harbour Lights and Sysop (system operator) on the COPS
BBS, said, "A rather large, rather vocal number of users have convinced me to start up a
"Because they knew me through Harbour Lights and COPS," he added, "they came and said we
need something local again. It's more like I got pushed into it and when I started it I
said 'why not?"
For Maguire, setting up the local BBS entailed installing a new phone line and purchasing
a new modem. He will be responsible for the monthly phone bill, which he estimates will
run him about $16.
With an original plan of charging users $9.99 for six months, Maguire said he "had a big
change of heart over the weekend.""Basically, why not?" he said about making the access
free. "Obviously, $10 for six months doesn't pay anything anyhow."
For those wanting longer access, Maguire said there is an option of paying "a little
more." He also hopes to have a place where local businesses can donate money to keep the
BBS going.Jenny Steffens
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