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3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive
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From: Jack Kessler
Subject: new French Info.Superhighway/Autoroute (pt.1of2) (15 Nov 94) re: FYIFrance: new French Info.Superhighway/Autoroute (pt.1of2) "Les Autoroutes de l'Information...": "Information Superhighways are social mechanisms", and the dangers of a "two - speed society" The French government, at the beginning of this year, asked Ge'rard The'ry, their "father of the Minitel", for a report on the future of networked information in their country. This report just has been released. It makes fascinating reading, particularly for those who now are very concerned about the future of the US "NII / National Information Infrastructure", under the recently - acquired US Republican orientation. The French, even the conservative French, have some different approaches. What follows is a summary of the "Rapport The'ry", by the able editor of the BIBLIO-FR e - conference, Herve' Le Crosnier. The translation, and blame for same, is mine. Copies of the full Rapport The'ry may be ordered via Minitel from 3615 DOCTEL: _Les autoroutes de l'information: Rapport au Premier Ministre_ / Ge'rard The'ry; Alain Bonnafe' (rapp.) et Michel Guieysse (rapp.) - La Documentation Franc,aise, 1994. 127 p. 70 francs (Rapports Officiels) Jack Kessler email@example.com *** Summary of the Rapport The'ry (Fall, 1994) by Herve' Le Crosnier (translated by Jack Kessler) In his introduction, Ge'rard The'ry sets the stage: "The revolution of the year 2000 will be that of Information for All. Comparable in its range of new technical capacities to those of the railroad or of electricity, the Information for All revolution will be more profound in its effects, for the telecommunications networks today constitute the nervous systems of our societies." "The development of digitization, associated particularly with the use of fiber optics, will provide a veritable liberation." Two concepts are articulated throughout the entire document: 1) the "Autoroutes de l'Information", which are conceived as fixed infrastructures, all are to use fiber optics and ATM techniques; 2) "Multimedia" is defined as an "interactive service using digitized supports for the treatment and transmission of information in all its forms." Ge'rard The'ry's argument is presented in three chapters: 1) _A Universal Challenge_, presents the economic, cultural, and geo - political aspects of the "Autoroutes de l'Information"; 2) _Important Advantages_, analyzes the current position of France; 3) _The Necessity for an Ambitious Strategy, Using All Available Means_, outlines a strategy of development. 1) _A Universal Challenge_ The report analyzes the strategies undertaken by the main developed nations: the US, Japan, Great Britain, and Germany. The effects of the general deregulation under way in telecommunications are examined sceptically: competition remains limited, and the former operators of national monopolies continue to hold de facto power in their zones of influence, which points inevitably to their consideration as the principal actors in the deployment of any "Autoroutes de l'Information". The "Autoroutes de l'Information" rely on techniques which already have been prepared, notably on three recent advances: a) the compression of digitized images; b) ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode), the new method of transport put into operation by the CNET (France Te'le'com), which will be at the heart of the "Autoroutes de l'Information"; c) fiber optics. According to Ge'rard The'ry, the construction of "Autoroutes de l'Information" constitutes an irreversible phenomenon, already launched in the renovation of telephone networks and the irresistible emergence of multimedia. Even if television eventually takes to the "Autoroutes", multimedia will continue to be distinguishable from t.v., notably in anything requiring interactivity, which is part neither of the culture nor of the technical approaches (cable and wavelength networks) of the traditional telecommunications mass media. The "Autoroutes de l'Information" are social mechanisms, which, while permitting the progress of knowledge and access to culture and education, also will increase the performance of companies and make an appreciable contribution to the general quality of life, notably by introducing a new organization into the relation of work to location. The influence on the workplace is emphasized. 2) _Important Advantages_ The report analyzes the potential markets, which correspond to five categories of service: a) Services of Information and Entertainment Print publishing will find here an opportunity for a new positioning, and it is necessary to involve them from now on in developments. Book publishing, notably that of reference works and school and general educational works, also is concerned with television, with companies involved in imaging, and with videogames. b) Inter - Corporate and Inter - Administrative Services The question of Management Information, needed by both private companies and public entities, is raised here. c) Commercial Services which deal with the Public Financial services (banks, insurance), sales organizations and home / consumer services will find a means of enlarging the positions which they already have achieved through the Minitel. d) Public Services These can find opportunities for renewal. Educational services and "tele - medicine" will be among those benefiting, along with libraries and museums. e) Telecommunications Finally, the "Autoroutes de l'Information" permit the transformation of telecommunications services, using leased lines for companies and visiophones for private individuals. (end of Part 1. In Part 2, the conclusion of Le Crosnier's summary of the Rapport The'ry, some references to discussion, and the announcement of an upcoming conference on the subject). *** From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Oct 18 17:10:19 1996 Date: Thu, 17 Oct 1996 11:18:46 -0700 (PDT) From: Jack Kessler Subject: new French Info.Superhighway/Autoroute (pt.2of2) (15 Nov 94) re: FYIFrance: new French Info.Superhighway/Autoroute (pt.2of2) "Les Autoroutes de l'Information...": "Information Superhighways are social mechanisms", and the dangers of a "two - speed society" (The continuation of Kessler's translation of Le Crosnier's summary of the Rapport The'ry, the just - released plan for France's national information infrastructure, written by the "father of the French Minitel", Ge'rard The'ry. Also: debate, already, and a conference.) (continued from Part 1:) In the commercial market, the experience acquired through the success of Minitel must be realized and validated. France Te'le'com, the fourth largest telecom operator in the world, has both the technical and the financial infrastructure at its disposal capable of carrying through the Minitel project to its conclusion. The know - how in both software and networks will find outlets in the construction of "Autoroutes de l'Information". The television network will have an advantage, against cable and wavelength networks which don't permit the interactivity required by multimedia. Complete cabling in fiber optics must be an objective of the "Autoroutes de l'Information". A significant step in this direction must be made quickly. Ge'rard The'ry asserts: "the necessary investments in both infrastructure and services are the responsibility of the national government." 3) The Necessity for an Ambitious Strategy, Using All Available Means The transformation now under way is taking place "in a climate of acceleration of competition on a global scale: "In this war, France is behind not only by comparison with the US... but also compared to France's principal partner, Germany." France has numerous advantages, in services as in the infrastructure of telecommunication. Ge'rard The'ry concentrates then on two perspectives: a) putting at the disposition of all citizens, between now and the year 2015, "Autoroutes de l'Information", at their homes and in every place where they are active; b) the equality of all in access to the "Autoroutes de l'Information", that is to say an expansion, to the new services offered by the "Autoroutes de l'Information", of the Universal Service already applicable to the telephone. The report specifies four basic steps permitting the creation of conditions of a market of sufficient scale for the new services of multimedia: a) A redeployment of networks into fiber optics, which must be undertaken rapidly (4 to 5 million lines), so as to acquire competence and know - how and to provide potential services with a test site quickly. France Te'le'com must play the most important role, as part of its new plan for 1995 - 9. b) The launching of experimentation platforms for services and systems, permitting market testing. The test experiences of Velizy and Rennes, during the introduction of the Minitel, are offered as examples. The experiences must be directly applied using the fiber optic cable network, working at "Autoroutes de l'Information" speeds. c) A development of software for both systems and content. d) An intensification of the use of ATM, which permits Europe to push its advantage in telecommunications all the way to the level of the user's terminal. This strategy should be followed in collaboration with Germany, inserting the use of high speed transmissions into the European strategy, and pushing for the extension of Universal Service to new multimedia services. The means of action must point toward a mobilization of systems of public information, using existing networks and taking advantage of an opening into Europe. But this role is not possible except through an awakening of French society to the importance of the question, which in turn will not happen without the determined action of the public authorities. "The appearance of the 'Autoroutes de l'Information' presents a grand opportunity. It must, however, avoid becoming an affair of specialists, and it must avoid opposing, through incomprehension, the phenomena of rejection. We must avoid the generation of a two - speed society, which would compromise the benefits to be gleaned from this revolution." (end of Le Crosnier's summary of the Rapport The'ry) *** US networkers and librarians might note The'ry's heavy emphasis on the vital role to be played by the central government, in this French version of a "National Information Infrastructure": so unlike anything so far realistically planned for our own Internet's future, much less on the US drawing boards now after the recent election mood - swing. My own guess is that the basic French approach outlined above now will be far more near to the approach of other countries than will anything to be developed by the US Congress during the next few years. Note also, pace Childers, The'ry's preoccupation with the "information poor" -- he warns agains the development of a "two - speed society", ie. a fast Internet lane and a slow 500 - channel one -- a preoccupation which even makes good business as well as political sense, but which is seldom heard in the devil - take - all race now under way to develop the US Information Superhighway. For those interested in reading more, articles have appeared in Le Monde, October 31, on the Rapport The'ry, and October 8, announcing the impending connection of the Bibliothe`que Nationale to the Internet (via RENATER), and in Le Monde Diplomatique for November, this last violently criticizing "Autoroutes de l'Information" on, of all things, nationalistic grounds ("Who is going to profit by these "Autoroutes de l'Information"?", demands the author -- answer, "American corporations"!). The French always make interesting reading, if only to get, always, a non - US point of view. Also, for those of you already in France, or who just might be passing through at the end of November: a conference will be held November 30 and December 1 in Rennes on this "Autoroutes de l'Information" subject, featuring Michel Melot, Herve' Le Crosnier, Jean - Louis Ducasse, and several other French library and library networking luminaries. The conference, entitled "A la de'couverte d'Internet", is sponsored by the ADBS / Association franc,aise des Documentalistes et Bibliothe'caires Specialise's. Additional conference information may be obtained from Marie-Anne Ollivier, Documentaliste Geosciences-Rennes, Campus de Beaulieu, 35O42 RENNES Cedex, email email@example.com, tel (33) 99 28 60 75, fax (33) 99 28 67 80. *** XXX FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter ISSN 1071 - 5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter, | published since 1992 as a small - scale, personal, | experiment, in the creation of large - scale | "information overload", by Jack Kessler. Any material / \ written by me which appears in FYI France may be ----- copied and used by anyone for any good purpose, so // \\ long as, a) they give me credit and show my e - mail --------- address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if // \\ if it is going to make them money, they must get my permission in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their permission. FYI France archives are at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search for FYIFrance), or via gopher to infolib.berkeley.edu 72 (path: 3. Electronic Journals (Library-Oriented)/ 6. FYIFrance/ , or http://www.univ-rennes1.fr/LISTESfirstname.lastname@example.org/ (BIBLIO-FR econference archive), or via telnet to a.cni.org , login brsuser (PACS / PACS-L econference archive), or at http://www.fyifrance.com . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison - pen letters all will be gratefully received at email@example.com . Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.
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