Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Jun 2012 23:15 UTC
Internet & Networking "Long before the coming of the World Wide Web, the Minitel provided a sort of internet-in-one-country. Long before Facebook, Google or Twitter - millions of French people went 'online' daily to search for information, to book their holidays, chat to strangers or seek cheap (or not so cheap) sexual thrills."
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by JimProfit on Sat 16th Jun 2012 02:10 UTC
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Usually services where acceded through kiosk number, the most used was 3615. The rate of 3615 services were like 10 € per hour. So a lot of minitels where decommissionned by their user because of the big invoice they received..

It was a real cash cow for state-owned France Telecom (FT), the only french operator at the time, and for the french state who funnelled a lot of FT profit to its budget.

So they had no that much interest in seeing Internet become generally available, the same applied to the editors of Minitel services, who also made a lot of money.

IMHO the telecom liberalization, which was decided at least european-wide, and especially the french regulatory agency allowed for widely available, cheap internet through ADSL. (they prevented FT to kill competition by using cheap price that only them could sustain, and forced FT to offer local loop unbundling at a reasonable price, BTW FT still has the monopoly of copper lines)

Not everything has changed, the french state is still the biggest FT shareholder and is suspected of influencing the regulatory agency for FT profit. IMHO they are not doing everything to help optical fiber penetration, as the concurrent can deploy their own lines without paying anything to FT (still, they often lend FT network sheaths

As for greediness: for the 2011 year FT shareholders perceived a dividend of € 4.4 billions, when the net profit was only of € 3.7 billions. (sic)

At the same time the mass-medias heavily publicized the distress of FT employees, who suffered a abnormally high suicide rate, and the french state expressed his profound sympathy for them. There weren't much media to point the fact that as the main shareholder the french state could be somewhat responsible for FT work condition degradation.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Souvenirs..
by spiderman on Sat 16th Jun 2012 08:49 in reply to "Souvenirs.."
spiderman Member since:

36-15 ULLA
(Very well known site on the Minitel some 30 years ago or so)

Edited 2012-06-16 08:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Souvenirs..
by zima on Fri 22nd Jun 2012 23:39 in reply to "Souvenirs.."
zima Member since:

At the same time the mass-medias heavily publicized the distress of FT employees, who suffered a abnormally high suicide rate

Curious... IIRC there was something like that about the workers of our more or less national Polish Telecom - which is largely owned by FT.

Anyway, a nice 1990 TV programme about Minitel that one: Computer Chronicles: High Tech France
(but, ugh, nobody thought or could synchronise the cameras with monitor refresh rates - or just use European 50 Hz cameras - and do 2:3 pulldown for transmission)

Curious at 5m mark: supposedly the rapid expansion of French telephone network was making editions of paper phonebooks quickly obsolete, so electronically accessed directory had clear benefits.

10m judging from poster, there was not only ULLA, also... ELENA at least? ;)

News at the end... oh my, upcoming win 3.0 introduction, "3D on-screen look" and a mention of then-available tablet ( )

And WTH the closing scene was about, Paris mood got to them? ;)

(also, in the ending of 2nd part - patent insanity already then, about obvious ideas, not implementing them)
also curious, a computer using Minitel terminal as its keyboard, modem, display. I wondered once why barely any computers used teletext as output, would save quite some RAM in those times (I guess because not many TVs had in turn expensive itself teletext in the first place)

Reply Parent Score: 2