Internet before its time

Former Head of SESA’s
Telecommunications Division

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Internet before its time

“The TRANSPAC network will be in service day and night beginning Thursday, December 21, 1978.” With this brief statement, the French National Telecommunications Research Center (CNET) announced the official launch of the TRANSPAC data transmission network, hailing a telecom revolution.

Data’s guiding thread

Up until that time, “France lacked a real dedicated data network that was separate from telephone and telex networks. Data transmission was limited to specialized point-to-point connections between computers,” recalls Maxime Donal, then Head of SESA’s Telecommunications Division, the  French  IT  services company specialized in systems integration, acquired by the Group in 1987. By the early 1970s, France was in dire need of a more efficient network. Banks, for example, needed to transmit even more data to all their branches. The National Telecommunications Research Center (CNET) decided in 1971 to create a data transmission network based on the TRANSPAC technique of packet switching, unlike the previous system, which froze the connection for the duration of communications. The TRANSPAC solution enabled streamlined and optimized network use while significantly reducing costs.

The TRANSPAC contract was equivalent to our entire annual turnover!
Maxime Donal

International trend

Following a call for tender launched in 1974, SESA won a contract to develop the software and oversee the entire project. At the start, CNET’s senior management lacked confidence in SESA’s ability to take on such a big task. “The TRANSPAC contract was equivalent to our entire annual turnover!” Maxime Donal recalls with a smile. But overtime, trust was built up, and the TRANSPAC network was deployed in the summer of 1978.

The project was a success, thanks in particular to SESA’s high-performance software and switches, which enabled data exchanges between terminals and computers all over the world. SESA’s TRANSPAC solution was so convincing it sparked an international trend, and was selected by Brazil, China, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, the European Community, and many private business networks. What a boost to Capgemini’s reputation as a specialist in large and complex projects!

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