Monday, June 13, 2011

The end of Minitel in 2011? Not in 2012

We saw a few days ago a report on an alarming major television: the network of France Telecom Transpac is advertised as having to close in September 2011, with no real solution to replace him. As Transpac is used especially for Minitel, unused, this news has obviously raised a "fuss." Yet ... it is false.

In fact, Transpac will be closed in June 2012 and not in September 2011. The closure in 2011 was actually announced via a press release in January 2010 but was postponed to June 2012, a little later, still France Telecom announces unduly. The conditions of use of Télétel - used for Minitel network - are quite clear on this point: the version of May 2011 indicates a permanent closing June 30, 2012 while opening new services will be available until February 29 2012.

Those who are still dependent on Minitel and more generally the X.25 therefore still have about a year to find an alternative. Transpac is the name of the X.25 network of France Telecom, the largest in the world, and is still active. It uses the X.25 communication protocol that operates per packet.

X.25 was standardized in 1976 and has been used in France for two main things: the Minitel network via Télétel, and some trade bank with ETEBAC (Exchange Bank Telematics Customers). Stopping the Transpac network will therefore involve the closure of Télétel network, which serves as the basis for communications on the Minitel, and ETEBAC.

If the latter is not a real problem, systems based on Internet connection is simple and as complete (see above), the Minitel is more troublesome. Indeed, some services are only available on the Minitel or offer more options on it. In June 2012, after SECAM, this will be another "glory" of the French technology that will disappear.

Remains to be seen whether France Telecom Transpac is really close in 2012: it is entirely possible that an extension of the life of the service (launched in 1978) is announced in the future.

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