Acronym: Bulletin Board System
Non-military, pre-Internet remote community small networks. Originally used as discussion systems, as their name implies. To use, individuals would dial-in to the BBS via a modem connected to a telephone and thus gain access to the messages on that system. Multi-phone line bulletin boards came into existance as a solution to phone busy-signals. Eventually, some systems even came to have Internet connections. BBS' were key to the widespread use of ANSI color.
While many would believe that BBS' are a dying breed, there are still a number of bulletin boards which exist to this day, and continue to evolve. However, with the advent of the World Wide Web, few BBS' remain popular. All but a handfull have closed their doors.