More than three decades after it’s 1978 launched, Minitel, a French forerunner to the internet we know and love today – at its height was installed in 9 million French homes – will shut down for good tomorrow.
Once at the cutting edge of technology, the Minitel allowed users in France to check the news, search phone directories, buy train and plane tickets, make restaurant reservations and even take part in online sex chats long before similar services existed elsewhere.
The advent of the internet made the Minitel’s dial-up connection and black-and-white screen obsolete, despite some pretty vocal protests, Minitel’s operator France Telecom-Orange has decided to finally pull the plug.
Developed by France Telecom in the 1970s and freely distributed, the Minitel reached its height in the early 1990s, with 26,000 services available and annual revenues of about a billion euros, about $AU1.2 billion.
Today only about 400,000 terminals are still in use, many of its services – including booking Air France and railway tickets – have been discontinued and in 2010 the system brought in only 30 million euros in revenues. With 85 per cent of those revenues going to service providers, France Telecom has decided the cost of maintaining the network is no longer financially viable :: Read the full article »»»»