To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the closure of the X25 Minitel network, Netim is launching its offers and services on the Internet’s ancestor.
A little bit of history
Minitel was created in the early 1980s, more precisely on June 30th 1982.
It quickly became part of most households, offering services such as
- making appointments or train tickets
- gaming platforms
- online dating
The Minitel (for “Interactive medium by the digitisation of telephone information”) is in fact a computer terminal. It is connected to the telephone network and has made France one of the world’s leading innovators in telematics.
This device is often mentioned with derision, compared to what the Internet can represent nowadays. Nevertheless, at the time, it was a revolution.
The peak in the number of households equipped with a Minitel was reached in 1993, with a peak of 6.5 million.
With the arrival of the Internet, the number of Minitel began to decline, finally reaching only 400,000 users the year it was closed in 2012. Among these diehards, a majority of elderly people, farmers, people not connected to ADSL, etc. The French government quickly set up campaigns to make the Internet accessible to all.
What happened to them?
What happened to all those Minitel? You must have come across them in flea markets or at collectors’ shops. Is it still possible to connect? And how do you use them?
At the office, we have a diehard among us: Alex. In order to better understand the challenges of this tool, we asked him a few questions and preconceived ideas…
The Minitel operates on the same network as the Internet
“Overall, Minitel, 56K modems and ADSL use the same medium to contact their services (the phone line).
The way they work, however, is totally different from what we know today.
It is not a question of IP routing or domain names but of telephone relays and telephone numbers.”
Minitel is the ancestor of computers
FALSE / TRUE
“The Minitel does not have any calculation system except for the display and signal demodulation system.
It is therefore difficult to ask it to perform an addition operation.
This device is simply a terminal that allows strings of characters to be sent to the server and the result to be displayed on the screen.
However, there are internal functions, depending on the model, which allows you to record memos or save your contacts.”
It is impossible to use Minitel today
There are no more public or private services reachable via the famous 3615 (3611, 3613, 3614, etc…)
However, some enthusiasts have started to create their own server in order to keep a trace of this French technology.
The Minitel Museum site (https://www.museeminitel.fr) lists the services currently available.
All you need is a Minitel, a telephone (if it doesn’t have one) and a telephone line (your box is fully compatible).
All you have to do is call a telephone number ( matching the server), wait for the dial tone and press the “Connect/End” button.
Netim’s services accessible from your Minitel
As you will have understood, Netim does not deploy its services on the Minitel, which has been closed for almost 10 years.
We are, despite everything, real enthusiasts of the Internet and its history, as well as its premises embodied by the Minitel. Nostalgic for those years, some of our employees now have fun collecting them, networking them and going back to those years when household connectivity was summed up in this little machine!
By the way, if you wish to display our site, follow Alex’s instructions by switching on your minitel and dialling 09 72 53 92 27!