3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Nov 15, 1994 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on November 15, 1994. This particular issue originally was distributed in two parts, as indicated below.
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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France enewsletter, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Enewsletter subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us .

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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

kessler@well.sf.ca.us

***

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 kessler@well.com 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 marie-anne.ollivier@univ-rennes1.fr, tel (33) 99 28
60 75, fax (33) 99 28 67 80.

***
 
XXX


FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter        ISSN 1071 - 5916

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