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The concept of the Internet refers to all packet networks connected together, allowing the exchange of information between computer systems (with fast modems or high-speed connections). Created in the United States in 1979, the Internet, the "network of networks" is indispensable today, thanks firstly to its high capacity for interactivity between users and the network and also the number of people connected on a global basis.

Since its inception, the Internet has seen a growing number of users: in 1982, there were hundreds of computers on the Internet. In 2004, there were more than two million. Currently, an estimated number of people likely to exchange e-mail daily is around 15 million.

"Every four months, a population equivalent to that of France subscribes to the Internet. "
"In five years, Internet has gained more users than the phone in 30 years. "
"Soon you can call anywhere in the world for the price of a local call."

The late appearance of the French actors is significant with regard to Internet. Today, only 8% of French people access the Internet while 15% of Britons and 10% of Germans are connected.

This delay is due to the low level of equipment possessed by the French in relation to their European neighbors: only 5% of French people have Internet access as against 8% of Europeans on average. But the origin of this delay is also found in the Minitel, which is now used by 14.2 million French people with a penetration rate of one terminal out of three homes. This is the world's highest rate of households using online services. So there is great potential for this type of service over the Internet.

Another reason would be, according to our clients, the high price of access by telephone lines. According to assessments in December 2008, France had a high cost of connection: for six hours a month, the cost of Internet access is 21.95 euros in France against an average price of 15.24 euros in Italy 17.68 euros in the United States. However, the cost is 26.21 euros in Germany and 32.92 euros in the UK.

However, the increase in computer sales (expected increase of 15% higher than in Europe) and the proliferation of French multimedia companies (600 in 2007 against 2010 in 2008) suggests that France will soon catch up with this delay.

The growth has attracted many competitors. The sector is now entering a phase of concentration. Today, telecom operators get involved and the future of the great online services is threatened. Indeed, they are forced to address this market as "traffic data" is growing by 40% per year against only 5% for voice, and exchange of multimedia data is done increasingly on the Internet; it is a means of distribution unbeatable for fax, voice and data transmissions.

The gradual arrival of the telecom operators should accelerate the process of concentration. The online support to customers is the critical point of running an ISP or IAP. France Telecom believes that the online help for subscribers to Wanadoo cost him 50% of its EUR 100 million euros turnover. The world average is between 30%and 40%.

Tags: telecom operators , internet industry in France, France Telecom

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