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September 3, 1997updated 01 Sep 2016 5:38pm


By CBR Staff Writer

The father of France’s Minitel system, Jacques Dondoux, now a junior economy minister, told Les Echos on Thursday that he agreed with prime minister Lionel Jospin’s declaration earlier in the week for a gradual migration from Minitel to the internet. In France, he noted, the growth of internet-based commerce is handicapped by the lack of a payment system that adequately compensates online service providers. Of the over $1bn (FF 6.5bn) in annual Minitel revenues, half is paid out to service providers. Because more information on the internet is free, companies too often lose money in going from Minitel to internet, Dondoux said, adding that some kind of compensation, particularly for small-to medium-sized companies, will be essential to encourage them to migrate. In any case, he added, we shouldn’t be pitting Minitel and Internet against each other, but making the best use of the advantages of each. France Telecom and its suppliers announced recently that they would introduce a hybrid Minitel-internet terminal in mid-1998. The French Association of Telematics (Aftel) also declared that it would support any measure that assures the continuity and compatibility between French telematics and the information superhighway. Aftel went on to say, however, that it is urgent to move French companies into the information age – today, and not in the future.

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