Telematics (a contraction of the French words for “telecommunications” and “computering”) was the result of research carried out in the 1960s to provide professional and private subscribers with a data service displayed on a screen.
In 1981, an experiment took place in Vélizy (Yvelines): 2,500 households were equipped with a decoder that connected their television sets to the Télétel 3V network. However, use of the television set in this manner was quickly abandoned as an autonomous terminal, the Minitel (first called “Tic-Tac”), was launched.
In February 1983, the electronic directory experiment began in Ille-et-Vilaine, and on 7 May 1985 the national database was inaugurated. It provided direct access to the contact details of 23 million subscribers. Thanks to the arrival of the Minitel, from 1981 onwards people could gradually connect to this national database.
With the Minitel, it becomes possible to consult train and plane timetables directly from home.
By the end of 1990, there were more than 5.6 million Minitels in France (one subscriber out of five). Other countries adopted a similar system, such as Germany with its Bildchirmtext.
In the United States, Leonard Kleinrock had been testing the connection between two computers since 1969, which later gave rise to the Internet.
In France, the Internet was used by the general public since 1994, but its use only really became widespread starting from the mid-2000s. By 31 December 2014, 26 million people were connected to a broadband network in France.
Minitel, the precursor of the Internet in France, was disconnected on Saturday 30 June 2012.