Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Alextel

Alextel
Northern Telecom

Release Date: 12/1/1988
Manufacturer: Northern Telecom
 
Donated By: Ken Shipman & Jim Appleby
 
Alex was the name of an interactive videotext information service offered by Bell Canada from 1988 to 1994.

The Alextel terminal rented to customers was a NAPLPS terminal with a standard modem for use on regular phone lines. The service could also be accessed with a personal computer with the appropriate terminal software.

Using the service could cost as much as $0.30 CAD per minute, and many users terminated their subscription upon receiving their first invoice.

The advent of the World Wide Web contributed to making this service obsolete. On 1994-04-29, Bell Canada sent a letter to its customers announcing that the service would be terminated on 1994-06-03. In that letter, Mr. T.E. Graham, then Director of Business Planning for Bell Advanced Communications, stated that "Quite simply, the ALEX network is not the right vehicle, nor the appropriate technology, at this time to deliver the information goods needed in our fast-paced society."

The Alextel terminal is reportedly usable as a dumb terminal for VT100 emulation.

From Wikipedia

 

This computer is currently interactive in the Museum.
 

User Comments
Fenwick McKelvey on Monday, November 13, 2017
Hi, Brian, do you still have an AlexTel? I'm hoping to restore one of these. Best, Fenwick McKelvey
DrZippo01@gmail.com on Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Brian in the GTA I'm interested!!
Brian on Sunday, July 16, 2017
Anyone in the GTA area want one of these? I have one I'm looking to get rid of.
Justin on Thursday, December 29, 2016
Maury: No, ALEX was NAPLPS. The terminal looked vaguely like Minitel and of course Minitel was the inspiration, but ALEX used all-Canadian technologies and protocols.
Maury Markowitz on Friday, September 30, 2016
Ok, it's *definitely* not NAPLPS. It's literally a re-badged Minitel.
Sherwood on Friday, February 05, 2016
I now have an Alextel thanks to the post I did a while ago :)
sherwood on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
If anyone has an Alextel that they no longer want, I am very interested. Being a recently retired Bell employee, I now have the time to search for one. My email = sherwoodflemming@sympatico.ca
Marc Goodman on Friday, October 10, 2014
I have one of these terminals (they were given away by the Toronto Free Net in exchange for a modest donation). Forgot all about it until I needed to clean out my storage locker in anticipation of a move. Anyone interested in this device is welcome to contact me at golomar@yahoo.com near the end of October 2014. If my memory serves me correctly it was actually a lot of fun to use as an email machine on a dial-up connection with TFN.
Maury Markowitz on Friday, November 08, 2013
Was Alex NAPLPS? I don't recall any graphics when I saw the system. I was under the impression it was a pure clone of Minitel.
kassem saleh on Monday, February 04, 2013
I worked on the percursor of ALEX. It was a system called inet 2000 from 1985, then Bell took the decision to start ALEX using the same software we worked on for iNet 2000 unfortunately we were not involved in the terminal design and we were as developers then disappointed with the usability and cosmetics of the terminal. short-lived because of bad usability engineering back then btw were about 30 developers and 300 marketing and other OVERHEAD
kassem saleh kassems@yahoo.com on Monday, February 04, 2013
I worked on the percursor of ALEX. It was a system called inet 2000 from 1985, then Bell took the decision to start ALEX using the same software we worked on for iNet 2000 unfortunately we were not involved in the terminal design and we were as developers then disappointed with the usability and cosmetics of the terminal. short-lived because of bad usability engineering back then btw were about 30 developers and 300 marketing and other OVERHEAD
kassem saleh kassems@yahoo.com on Monday, February 04, 2013
I worked on the percursor of ALEX. It was a system called inet 2000 from 1985, then Bell took the decision to start ALEX using the same software we worked on for iNet 2000 unfortunately we were not involved in the terminal design and we were as developers then disappointed with the usability and cosmetics of the terminal. short-lived because of bad usability engineering back then btw were about 30 developers and 300 marketing and other OVERHEAD
Boe on Monday, October 22, 2012
I also have an Alextel terminal in excellent condition, would anyone know what the value might be? b_zaino@hotmail.com
Smart_One on Saturday, June 30, 2012
I would communicate with you but I don't have an Alex to do it with.....:)
Nick Steele on Thursday, September 01, 2011
I remember back in 95~96 ish I was in grade 7 and everyone got one of these that went to our school. The idea was that the school could send you grades and messages direct to parents.. Half of the systems taken home didn't work after the first week between keys inop, screens inop and other misc issues. I remember the monitor screamed for the first week then didn't work after that. The plan was never lifted off the ground due to half the systems not working and nothing to replace them with. Pretty cool when you think about it all I remember it was usful for was it had caller ID built into it.
Paul on Monday, January 31, 2011
Was curious if anyone knows what key or key-combo is used to substitute an <ESC> key on the Alextel, some BBSs require it. Thanks in advance :)
Steve Hearn on Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I had one in 1990 or 1991 but I'm sure it had an LCD screen. I think that's why I got it - because it was like a laptop. Can't find a photo of one with an LCD screen though.
Philippe on Friday, January 01, 2010
I still own a mint condition 1992 ALEXtel terminal with cables, english and french manuals and the original box - If interested, please communicate with me at : (514) 944-9550 ~ Philippe
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