Alcatel V2000

Below to the right is an extremely rare American Minitel terminal.

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This "Alcatel V2000" made-in-France machine was "built by TELIC ALCATEL for US FRIDEN" in 1990. It features a QWERTY keyboard (rather than the usual French AZERTY keyboard), an FCC compliance notice, US phone jacks, and a very peculiar US-football-shaped 6-pin DIN.

It is unclear who was behind "US FRIDEN" or who imported those machines. We suspect it was either imported by France Telecom USA in New York, or by San-Francisco-based 101 Online, a company that briefly tried to set up a Minitel network in the USA. The hand-written serial number indicates that this machine was number 47, and we suspect the total number was very small. This machine was purchased on ebay from a seller who told us had bought it at a garage sale in San Bernardino County, California.

This machine does handhsake with the local US telco. By connecting the machine to a landline in our office in Los Angeles, we were able to dial to a US cell phone. When the receiver picks up the call, his voice comes out of a speaker built in the Minitel. However, we were not able to connect to the French Minitel network. When calling the international access codes for Minitel servers, we got error bips, and could not connect to the servers.

On the plus side, this machine greets you with a welcome message in English and a big smile.

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