Worker cooperative
Founded 1983 (1983)
Headquarters Manchester, United Kingdom

Poptel was a British internet and on-line services provider that was run by an employee cooperative (worker cooperative) from 1986 to 2002.

In the 1980s Poptel offered on-line communications and information services to international NGOs, working in particular with the Interdoc group.[1] Poptel was a partner in the Manchester Host and the Kirklees Host and became known as a provider of Internet services to the Labour Party.[2][3] Working with the National Cooperative Business Association of the US, it launched the successful bid to create a top level Internet domain for use exclusively by cooperatives - ".coop".[4]

Poptel was "demutualised" and broken up into smaller businesses in September 2002. Staff from the web development department formed a new co-operative, Poptech (later Fused Technologies). OSG Co-op (now Midcounties Co-operative) took over the .coop registry operation. The retail Internet Services business was merged with The Phone Co-op in 2003. In 2012 the .coop registry was transferred to the International Co-operative Alliance.[5]


Poptel was a trading name for Soft Solution Ltd, a worker co-operative founded in 1983. Poptel's first on-line service, based on the GeoNet platform, was launched in March 1986. The Manchester Host was launched in 1991.


  1. Brian Martin Murphy, History of APC 2004, retrieved May 2016
  2. Lord Cope, Hansard Jul 2000, retrieved May 2016
  3. BBC Politics 97 1997, retrieved May 2016
  4. ICANN new .coop TLD 2001, retrieved May 2016
  5. ICA, 2012, retrieved May 2016

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