The episode caused such an unexpected spike in calls that AT&T, the phone carrier, later created AT&T billed more than $200,000 that night, marking a glorious moment for the young 900 number business.In the late 1980s, dialing a number with the 900 prefix on your landline phone became a way to gain access to a web of information on any number of subjects before the Internet as we know it existed.
Typically, videotex systems were menu-driven systems designed for display on television sets.
Videotex, an electronic data-retrieval system in which usually textual information was transmitted via telephone or cable television lines and displayed on a television set or video display terminal.
Videotex was originally designed in the early 1970s.
Minitel, developed by France Télécom in the early 1980s, was one of the few successful videotex systems.
Although it was originally created to provide an online telephone directory, Minitel became popular in large part owing to its , or chat services, especially the sexually explicit adult chat lines.
Users can get e-mail transcripts of voice mails through the service.
It can also be used to send text messages and place calls - even international ones - at low rates paid to Google, not the carriers, though those calls do use cell phone plan minutes.
Other countries used government money to fund and develop videotex systems.
In 1979 the British Post Office (now British Telecom) developed Prestel, which foundered for years with low numbers of users.
Videotex operators found it difficult to attract customers, and advertisers were reluctant to sign up.
Despite the prognostications of information-society theorists, the commercial content provided on videotex was just not compelling enough, nor was it sustainable for advertisers and content providers.
” during that April 1982 episode, Murphy petitioned the audience to call in, even telling Larry the Lobster’s life story.