is a French Interactive television/telephone collection of networks and service
providers. It is used presently by such countries as France, Australia and
Switzerland. It is a form of Teletext and is composed of about 25,000+ service
providers. When it was introduced in the early 1980s it became popular with many
French users and also those outside France. You can book for example: ferries,
check tolls and road conditions, book skiing accommodation, check bank accounts,
pay gas and electricity bills, book trains, undertake teleshopping with your
credit card and much, much more. By 1989 over 4 million subscribers used the
In the very early 1980s the French Government stated its desire to start two
experimental Vidéotex sites; one was in Paris and the other was in Ille et
Villaine, situated between Côtes du Nord and Mayenne. The idea was to use a low
cost terminal in conjunction with a computerised French Phone Directory. By the
end of 1982 the Télétel network had been introduced and there was a launch of
the first service to go live: 'Onze'.
French consumers have easy access to all these services with their dedicated
terminals and their connect charges are placed directly on their phone bill.
They do not need different accounts with each information provider. Internet
appliance type devices are often used to access the Minitel system as well as by
public kiosks. Its existence is one reason why those with the Minitel system
were less enthusiastic about the Internet than other countries. However, in
recent years the Internet has largely taken over many of Minitel's services.
What are the benefits of
Minitel offered an array of user friendly services from banking to
home-shopping, from instant ticket reservations to instant travel arrangements.
Here are just a few of the many advantages of Minitel:
access electronic services in
France for the price of a local phone call
non-stop service; available all
day, any day
simple to use
inexpensive - you pay as you use
access to thousands of French
services not available through other gateways