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The Minitel is a Videotex
Videotex
Videotex was one of the earliest implementations of an "end-user information system". From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, it was used to deliver information to a user in computer-like format, typically to be displayed on a television.In a strict definition, videotex refers to systems that provide...

 online service accessible through the telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

 lines, and is considered one of the world's most successful pre-World Wide Web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

 online services. It was launched in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1982 by the PTT (Poste, Téléphone et Télécommunications; divided since 1991 between France Télécom
France Télécom
France Telecom S.A. is the main telecommunications company in France, the third-largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It currently employs about 180,000 people and has 192.7 million customers worldwide . In 2010 the group had revenue of €45.5 billion...

 and La Poste
La Poste (France)
La Poste is the mail service of France, which also operates postal services in the French Overseas Departments of Réunion, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and the territorial collectivities of Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Mayotte...

). From its early days, users could make online purchases, make train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

 reservations, check stock
Stock
The capital stock of a business entity represents the original capital paid into or invested in the business by its founders. It serves as a security for the creditors of a business since it cannot be withdrawn to the detriment of the creditors...

 prices, search the telephone directory
Telephone directory
A telephone directory is a listing of telephone subscribers in a geographical area or subscribers to services provided by the organization that publishes the directory...

, have a mail box, and chat in a similar way to that now made possible by the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

In February 2009, France Telecom
France Télécom
France Telecom S.A. is the main telecommunications company in France, the third-largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It currently employs about 180,000 people and has 192.7 million customers worldwide . In 2010 the group had revenue of €45.5 billion...

 indicates the Minitel network still has 10 million monthly connections, among which 1 million on the 3611 (directory). France Telecom is planning to retire the service on the 30th of June 2012.

Business model



Millions of terminal
Computer terminal
A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system...

s were handed out free to telephone subscribers, resulting in a high penetration
Market penetration
Market penetration is8th growth strategies of the Product-Market Growth Matrix defined by Ansoff. Market penetration occurs when a company enters/penetrates a market with current products. The best way to achieve this is by gaining competitors' customers...

 rate among businesses and the public. In exchange for the terminal, the possessors of Minitel would not be given free "white page" printed directories (alphabetical list of residents and firms), but only the yellow pages (classified commercial listings, with advertisements); the white pages were accessible for free on Minitel, and they could be searched by a reasonably intelligent search engine
Search engine
A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system. The search results are usually presented in a list and are commonly called hits. Search engines help to minimize the time required to find information and the amount of information...

; much faster than flipping through a paper directory.

France Télécom estimates that almost 9 million terminals—including web-enabled personal computers (Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

, Mac OS
Mac OS
Mac OS is a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface...

, and Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

)—had access to the network at the end of 1999, and that it was used by 25 million people (of a total population of 60 million).

Minitel allowed access to various categories of services:
  • phone directory (free)
  • mail-order retail companies
  • airline
    Airline
    An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

     or train ticket purchases
  • information services
  • databases
  • message boards


The development of Minitel spawned the creation of many start-up companies in a manner similar to the later dot-com bubble
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 of Internet-related companies. Similarly, many of those small companies floundered and failed because of an overcrowded market or bad business practices (lack of infrastructure for online retailers). The messageries roses ("pink messages", adult chat services) and other pornographic sites were also criticized for their possible use by under-age children. The government chose not to enact coercive measures, however, stating that the regulation of the online activities of children was up to parents, not the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

. The government also enacted a tax
Tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...

 on pornographic online services.

Finances


Payment methods
  • Credit card
    Credit card
    A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for these goods and services...

     for purchases
  • Telephone bill for surfing time: rates depend on the sites visited


France Télécom charges Minitel users at rates of up to
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

1 a minute on their monthly telephone bill. The rates depend on the service called; most services are far cheaper than this maximum. It then pays back part of the sum to the companies that operate Minitel servers.

In the late 1990s, Minitel connections were stable at 100 million a month plus 150 million online directory inquiries, in spite of growing Internet use.

In 1998, Minitel generated € 832 million ($1,121 million) of revenue, of which € 521 million was channelled by France Télécom to service providers.

Minitel sales in the late 1990s accounted for almost 15% of sales at La Redoute
La Redoute
La Redoute is the largest mail order company in France.The company is based in Roubaix. It was founded in 1875. It is owned by the PPR holding company. PPR was named "Pinault-Printemps-Redoute" until 2005. Thus the "R" in the acronym refers to La Redoute....

 and 3 Suisses
3 Suisses
3 Suisses is a French mail order company. Otto GmbH has owned a 51% stake in the company since 1981. In 1987, 3 Suisses and L'Oréal founded Le Club des Créateurs de Beauté specializing in mail order sales of cosmetic products....

, France's biggest mail order companies. In 2005, the most popular Minitel application was Teleroute
Teleroute
Teleroute.com S.A., a Wolters Kluwer business, is a leading pan-European provider of electronic services and innovative solutions for the transport and logistics industry. Founded in 1985 as an online freight exchange, Teleroute today delivers collaborative solutions for the transport and logistics...

, the online real-time freight exchange
Freight exchange
A freight exchange is an online service for freight haulers/haulage companies, Logistics providers and freight forwarders. It allows transport companies/haulers to search advertisements for freight, and freight forwarders/logistics providers to offer freight to be transported.These systems provide...

, which accounted for nearly 8% of Minitel usage.

In 2005 there were 351 million calls for 18.51 million hours of connection, generating € 206 million of revenue, of which € 145 million were redistributed to 2000 service providers (these numbers are declining at around 30% per year). There were still 6 million terminals owned by France Télécom, which had been left with their users in order to avoid recycling problems. The main uses were banking and financial services, which benefit from Minitel's security features, and access to professional databases. France Télécom mentions, as an example of usage, that 12 million updates to personal vitale
Vitale
Vitale is a surname of Italian origin. The name refers to:*Ami Vitale , American photojournalist*Anthony Vitale , American mobster with the Bonanno crime family of New York...

 health-care cards were made through Minitel.

Phonebook


The most popular service of the Minitel was the "Annuaire Electronique" accessible through the Phonenumber "11". On October 18, 1996 (new French numbering system adapted), the access to the Phonedirectory changed to "3611". Companies could add up to 3 lines of complementary information and a "prehistoric" website. Ads to the Minitel Phone Directory were sold by ODA (Office d´Annonces), today Pages Jaunes Groupe in Sevres France. In 1991, the "Minitel Website" for the Paris Sony Stores contained already over 100 pages. Today, the use to the "3611" Minitel Directory is widely replaced by the online white or yellow pages, available through the websites Pagesjaunes.fr/Pagesblanches.fr (Groupe Pages Jaunes SA) or in English Yellowpages.fr/Whitepages.fr (Groupe Phonebook of the World).

On 11 February 2009, France Télécom and PagesJaunes announced that they were to cancel plans to end the Minitel service in March 2009. Its directory assistance service is still accessed over a million times a month.

Technical


Minitel uses dumb terminals consisting of a text based screen
Computer display
A monitor or display is an electronic visual display for computers. The monitor comprises the display device, circuitry, and an enclosure...

, keyboard
Computer keyboard
In computing, a keyboard is a typewriter-style keyboard, which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys, to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches...

 and modem
Modem
A modem is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data...

. Simple graphics can be displayed using a set of predefined graphical characters. Aftermarket printers are available.

When connecting, the Minitel integrated modem generally dials a special number connecting to a PAVI (Point d'Accès VIdéotexte, "videotext access point"). The PAVI transmits information back on to the servers of the appropriate company or administration using the Transpac X.25
X.25
X.25 is an ITU-T standard protocol suite for packet switched wide area network communication. An X.25 WAN consists of packet-switching exchange nodes as the networking hardware, and leased lines, Plain old telephone service connections or ISDN connections as physical links...

 network.

In France the most common dial number was "36 15", while "36 17" was used by more expensive services. Minitel services names were often prefixed with this number to identify them as such. Thus the "36 15" prefix had the same meaning as the ".com" suffix now has for Internet web sites; billboard ads at the time often consisted of nothing more than an image, a company name, and a "36 15" number, the fact that a Minitel service was being advertised was then clear by implication.

Minitel used a half-duplex asymmetric data rate via its modem. It downlinked at 1200 bit/s and uplinked at 75 bit/s. This allowed fast downloads, for the time. The system, which came to be known as '1275' was more correctly known as V.23. This system was developed solely for Minitel and its clones around the world.

Technically, Minitel refers to the terminals, while the network is known as Teletel.

Minitel terminals use the AZERTY
AZERTY
AZERTY is a specific layout for the characters of the Latin alphabet on typewriter keys and computer keyboards. The layout takes its name from the first six letters to appear on the first row of alphabetical keys...

 keyboard most commonly used in French (as opposed to the QWERTY
QWERTY
QWERTY is the most common modern-day keyboard layout. The name comes from the first six letters appearing in the topleft letter row of the keyboard, read left to right: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the...

 keyboard more common in the English-speaking world).

Minitel and the Internet


Minitel was often considered as an impediment for a fast deployment of the Internet in France, since it already provided safe and easy online access for many useful services without requiring a personal computer. Indeed, it still has advantages over the Internet: It does not require subscribing to a service (except the phone service), buying and maintaining a personal computer, and some scholars have shown that the Minitel was an early vehicle for growth of French SMEs.

Additionally, the argument has been made that thanks to the Minitel, the French were used to doing transactions online and have embraced the Internet as it offers more value and convenience than the Minitel.

In 1986 French university students coordinated a national strike using Minitel, demonstrating an early use of digital communication devices for participatory technopolitical ends.

Minitel in other countries

  • Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

    :
    Minitel was launched by Belgacom
    Belgacom
    The Belgacom Group is the largest telecommunications company in Belgium, headquartered in Brussels. Belgacom Group is primarily state owned, with the Belgian state holding 53.3% + 1 share...

     and successfully delivered services led by Teleroute until recently. It suffered a rapid decline following the extensive broadband rollout initiated by the Flemish regional government.

  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    :
    Bell Canada
    Bell Canada
    Bell Canada is a major Canadian telecommunications company. Including its subsidiaries such as Bell Aliant, Northwestel, Télébec, and NorthernTel, it is the incumbent local exchange carrier for telephone and DSL Internet services in most of Canada east of Manitoba and in the northern territories,...

     experimented with a Minitel-based system known as AlexTel
    Alex (videotex service)
    Alex was the name of an interactive videotex information service offered by Bell Canada in market research from 1988 to 1990 and thence to the general public until 1994....

    . The system was technically similar to Minitel, with the exception that the telephone connector was modified to use the Bell System
    Bell System
    The Bell System was the American Bell Telephone Company and then, subsequently, AT&T led system which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984, at various times as a monopoly. In 1984, the company was broken up into separate companies, by a U.S...

     RJ-11 standard connectors. Originally launched experimentally in the Montreal
    Montreal
    Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

     area, "Alex" was then launched in most areas served by Bell Canada (primarily Ontario
    Ontario
    Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

     and Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    ) with offers of a free trial period and terminal. Although branded as a "bilingual" (English and French Canadian) service, the majority of the services offered were the experimental ones originally offered in Quebec and completely Francophone. Retention rates were reportedly close to zero. The service closed down shortly after exiting the experimental stage.

  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

    :
    "Bildschirmtext
    Bildschirmtext
    Bildschirmtext was a V.23 online service launched in West Germany in 1983 by the Deutsche Bundespost, the German postal service. Btx originally required special hardware, which had to be bought or rented from the post office...

    " (BTX) is almost as old as Minitel and technically very similar, but it was largely unsuccessful because consumers had to buy expensive decoders to use it. The German postal service held a monopoly
    Monopoly
    A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

     on the decoders that prevented competition and lower prices. Few people bought the boxes, so there was little incentive for companies to post content, which in turn did nothing to further box sales. When the monopoly was loosened, it was too late because PC-based online services had started to appear.

  • Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

    :
    Minitel was introduced to Ireland by eircom
    Eircom
    Eircom Group LTD is a telecommunications company in the Republic of Ireland, and a former state-owned incumbent. It is currently the largest telecommunications operator in the Republic of Ireland and operates primarily on the island of Ireland, with a point of presence in Great Britain.As Bord...

     (then called Telecom Eireann
    Telecom Éireann
    Telecom Éireann, or formally Bord Telecom Éireann - The Irish Telecommunications Board, was created by the Postal & Telecommunications Services Act, 1983 from the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, Ireland, under the leadership of the Minister for Posts & Telegraphs...

    ) in 1988. The system was based on the French model and Irish services were even accessible from France via the code"36 19 Irlande." A number of major Irish businesses came together to offer a range of online services, including directory information, shopping, banking, hotel reservations, airline reservations, news, weather and information services. The system was also the first platform in Ireland to offer users access to e-mail outside of a corporate setting. Despite being cutting edge for its time, the system failed to capture a large market and was ultimately withdrawn due to lack of commercial interest. The rise of the internet and other global online services in the early to mid 1990s played a major factor in the death of Irish Minitel. Minitel Ireland's terminals were technically identical to their French counterparts, except that they had a Qwerty
    QWERTY
    QWERTY is the most common modern-day keyboard layout. The name comes from the first six letters appearing in the topleft letter row of the keyboard, read left to right: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the...

     keyboard and an RJ-11 telephone jack which is the standard telephone connector in Ireland. Terminals could be rented for 5.00 Irish pound
    Irish pound
    The Irish pound was the currency of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the usual notation was the prefix £...

    s (6.35 euro
    Euro
    The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

    ) per month or purchased for 250.00 Irish pound
    Irish pound
    The Irish pound was the currency of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the usual notation was the prefix £...

    s (317.43 euro
    Euro
    The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

    ) in 1992.

  • Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    :
    In 1985 the national telephone operator (SIP - Società italiana per l'esercizio telefonico now known as Telecom Italia
    Telecom Italia
    Telecom Italia is the largest Italian telecommunications company, also active in the media and manufacturing industries. Now a private concern listed on the Borsa Italiana, it was founded in 1994 by the merger of several state-owned telecommunications companies, the most important of which was...

    ) launched the Videotel service. The system use was charged on a per-page basis. Due to the excessive cost of the hardware and the expensive services, diffusion was very low, leading to the diffusion of a FidoNet
    FidoNet
    FidoNet is a worldwide computer network that is used for communication between bulletin board systems. It was most popular in the early to mid 1990s, prior to the introduction of easy and affordable access to the Internet...

    -oriented movement. The service was shut down in 1994.

  • Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    : The then state-owned phone company PTT (now KPN
    KPN
    KPN is a Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company, including both 2G and 3G mobile operations...

    ) operated two platforms: Viditel and Videotex
    Videotex
    Videotex was one of the earliest implementations of an "end-user information system". From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, it was used to deliver information to a user in computer-like format, typically to be displayed on a television.In a strict definition, videotex refers to systems that provide...

     Nederland
    . The main difference was that Viditel used one big central host where Videotex used a central access system responsible for realizing the correct connection to the required host: owned and managed by others. The Videotex services offered access via several primary rate numbers
    Premium-rate telephone number
    Premium-rate telephone numbers are telephone numbers for telephone calls during which certain services are provided, and for which prices higher than normal are charged. Unlike a normal call, part of the call charge is paid to the service provider, thus enabling businesses to be funded via the calls...

     and the information/service provider could choose the costs for accessing his service. Depending on the number used, the tariff could vary 0-1 Dutch guilders (0.00-0.45 euro
    Euro
    The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

    ) per minute. Some private networks such as Travelnet (for travel-agencies) and RDCNet for automotive industry, used the same platform as Videotex Nl but used dedicated dial-in phone numbers, dedicated access-hardware and also used authentication
    . Although the protocol used in France for Minitel was slightly different then the international standard you could use the 'international' terminal (or PC's with the corerect terminal-emulation software) to access the French services. It was possible to connect to most French Minitel services via the Dutch Videotex network, but the price per minute was considerably higher: most French Minitel services were reachable via the dial-in number 06-7900 which had a tarrif of 1 guilder/minute (aprox. € 0,45/minute)

  • South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

    :
    Videotext
    Videotext
    Videotext may refer to:* Videotext, another name for Teletext, a broadcast information service* Videotex, an interactive information service* Living Videotext, a software development company founded by Dave Winer in 1983...

     was introduced by Telkom in 1986 and named Beltel
    Beltel
    Beltel was the name and trademark used by the South African phone company Telkom for its Videotext system between the mid eighties and 1999....

    . The Minitel was introduced later to popularise the service.

  • Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    :
    Swedish state-owned telephone company Televerket
    Televerket
    Televerket is the name of two government telecommunications agencies:*Televerket , former name of Swedish company Telia, later merged to TeliaSonera.*Televerket, former name of Norwegian company Telenor...

     tried to introduce a similar service in 1991. It went out of service in 1993. They called it Teleguide, and their terminals were built by IBM.

  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    :
    The Prestel
    Prestel
    Prestel , the brand name for the UK Post Office's Viewdata technology, was an interactive videotex system developed during the late 1970s and commercially launched in 1979...

     system was similar in concept to Minitel, using dedicated terminals or software on personal computers to access the network.

  • United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    :
    In the early 1990s US West
    US West
    U S WEST, Inc. was one of seven Regional Bell Operating Companies , created in 1983 under the Modification of Final Judgement , a case related to the antitrust breakup of AT&T...

     (previously Qwest
    Qwest
    Qwest Communications International, Inc. was a large United States telecommunications carrier. Qwest provided local service in 14 western U.S. states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.On April...

     now CenturyLink
    CenturyLink
    CenturyLink, Inc. is a United States telecommunications firm, headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana. The company, founded as Central Telephone & Electronics Corporation in 1968, later changed its name to Century Telephone Enterprises, Inc. in 1971, and then was called CenturyTel, Inc. from 1999 to 2010...

    ) launched a Minitel service in the Minneapolis and Omaha
    Omaha
    Omaha may refer to:*Omaha , a Native American tribe that currently resides in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Nebraska-Places:United States* Omaha, Nebraska* Omaha, Arkansas* Omaha, Georgia* Omaha, Illinois* Omaha, Texas...

     markets called "CommunityLink." This joint venture of US West and France Télécom provided Minitel content to IBM PC
    IBM PC
    The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981...

    , Commodore 64
    Commodore 64
    The Commodore 64 is an 8-bit home computer introduced by Commodore International in January 1982.Volume production started in the spring of 1982, with machines being released on to the market in August at a price of US$595...

     and Apple II
    Apple II
    The Apple II is an 8-bit home computer, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak, manufactured by Apple Computer and introduced in 1977...

     owners using a Minitel-emulating software application over a dialup modem. Many of the individual services were the same as or similar to those offered by France Télécom to the French market; in fact, some chat services linked up with France Télécom's network in France. The service was fairly short-lived as competing offerings from providers like AOL
    AOL
    AOL Inc. is an American global Internet services and media company. AOL is headquartered at 770 Broadway in New York. Founded in 1983 as Control Video Corporation, it has franchised its services to companies in several nations around the world or set up international versions of its services...

    , Prodigy
    Prodigy (ISP)
    Prodigy Communications Corporation was an online service that offered its subscribers access to a broad range of networked services, including news, weather, shopping, bulletin boards, games, polls, expert columns, banking, stocks, travel, and a variety of other features.Initially subscribers...

    , and CompuServe
    CompuServe
    CompuServe was the first major commercial online service in the United States. It dominated the field during the 1980s and remained a major player through the mid-1990s, when it was sidelined by the rise of services such as AOL with monthly subscriptions rather than hourly rates...

    provided more services targeted at American users for a lower price. Many of US West's Minitel offerings were charged à la carte or hourly while competitors offered monthly all-inclusive pricing.

External links