"Magic Modem" for the BBC "B" computer


Stand-alone modem, "Magic Modem" for the BBC "B" computer, 1981-1982.

Stand-alone modem for the BBC Micro Model B computer.

The Magic Modem allowed the BBC Micro to connect to a data service via a telephone line, a forerunner of later internet services. Data feeds were presented onscreen as simple graphic pages navigated by numbers similar to teletext. Unlike teletext, telephone services were interactive creating new opportunities such as Homelink, the UK’s first online banking service.

The BBC Computer Literacy Project was a multimedia initiative planned from 1979 and launched in 1982 to address the rise in microelectronics that would revolutionise industry and society. Programmes broadcast by the BBC were accompanied by books, courses and software. Key to the project was the production and distribution of the BBC Micro, a series of microcomputers built by Acorn Computers. The computers were popular and supported by the government’s computers in schools project. By 1983 over 85% of primary and 65% of secondary schools had opted for the BBC Micro. Acorn anticipated the total sales to be around 12,000 units, but eventually more than 1.5 million BBC microcomputers were sold. Accessories such as this modem allowed the basic BBC Micro set-up to be adapted to the needs of the user.


Object Number:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • computer peripheral
The BBC Collection