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Smartphones fail to displace Minitel among French dairy farmers

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Breton dairy farmers provide an unlikely user base for the 30-year-old Minitel service, set to be shut down on Saturday

French Farm
French Farm

As France's 30-year-old Minitel network prepares to say its final digital au revoir on Saturday, the New York Times reveals one group which will be particularly hard hit by the shutdown — Breton dairy farmers. Having been adopted in the '80s and '90s as a way to track prices and keep in touch with the agricultural authorities, the proto-internet service still has a hard core of roughly 2,500 users in the region. Although developers of farming tools for the system have long since switched to smartphones and tablets, just a "few dozen" of the new devices are currently in use — as one farmer puts it, "I'm not very 'Internet.'" Head over to the NYT to find out why the Minitel has proved so useful to this odd band of early-adopters, and why they're so reluctant to move on.