Minitel was a very popular internet service in the mid-1980s to the early 2000s that allowed people to connect to a multitude of different online services. It was a little box that connected to the telephone, which created a computer terminal that had a screen, keyboard, and modem. It was an easy way to access the famous network of networks. These terminals were given out by the phone companies to every user, free of charge. Unlike AOL or Facebook, the Minitel was a neutral platform (Mailland 2017). With over 6.5 million different terminals people could access any information or service they needed on Minitel (Hewson 1997). They could search for the weather forecast, train times, pornography, restaurants, sporting events, and much more. One thing that made Minitel so appealing was how cheap it was to access the variety of services. People would pay by the minute through their phone lines to access the services in France.
By typing in the code “3615 CONNECT” into Minitel you are instantly transformed into a Netsurfer and taken to the company’s website- HTTP:// www.netfront.fr/connect- where you are able to be connected to the outside web to look into different sites with a simple URL (Mailland 2017).
Code “3615 CONNECT” also offers other options such as connecting people to directions in French such as Ecila, Yahoo / France, Nomade, Yellow Web, and others. It also offers a few selections of different websites in the subjects of news-weather, cinema, culture, finance, IT, and health. It can also help them get connected with these options if wanted. It offers an introduction to the internet. With descriptions and summaries of the history of the internet, the World Wide Web (WWW), and how to surf the web. Finally, it also allows users to set up an electronic mailbox, where they can send and receive messages (Mailland 2017).
This site is best for users of Minitel who already have somewhat of a background of the Internet, but do not yet have a connection. For those with a good understanding of the Internet already, 3615 CONNECT may be frustrating for them. The lack of graphics and colors lack severely, and the loading time is greatly increased on this site. The loading time is increased so users spend more money. When they dial-in, they are charged by the minute when using different services on Minitel. So, the longer they are on the site the more money they are spending.
The service 3615 CONNECT, was produced by a company named “Netfront” that was founded in 1995. This company was dedicated to creating networks and content value enhancement. The company was privately owned by R&D software development and marketing company and was based in Paris. Although the website is still up and the last update was in March 2017, it looks like it was ended in 2018. When clicking through the different tabs you can see the last update to the “Networks” page was done in 2012 (Optiman, 1995).
More information on 3615 CONNECT could not be acquired because of the lack of sources provided. After Minitel was disconnected after 30 years, on June 30th, 2012, information on the different services Minitel provided became severely limited and mainly only available in French.
Béatrice FOENIX-RIOU. 1997. “3615 CONNECT : LE MARIAGE DU MINITEL ET D’INTERNET”.
Julian Mailland. 2017. “Minitel, the Open Network Before the Internet”. The Atlantic https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/06/minitel/530646/
David Hewson. 1997. “France fails online by going it alone”. The Sunday Times (London).
“Optiman.” optiman.net, 1995. http://www.optiman.net/Societe/.