The first WebTerminals are in operation
In December 1998 the staff of C3/Soros Foundation Hungary fulfilled their promise made in October, placing the first free, public WebTerminals at the sites listed below:
- Budagyöngye shopping center
- Déli Pályaudvar (Southern Train Station), ticket hall
- National Széchényi Library, main entrance
- Local Government of the I. District, residents' service
The C3 WebTerminal is a brand-new device by which today's most multi-layered telecommunications format, the Internet, is made accessible to anyone, in the public space. We are hopeful that the public placement of these terminals, and their easy-to-use design, will facilitate the establishment of the possibilities of the worldwide Network into our cultural habitude, with a similar degree of ease as the use of telephone, radio and television. With its appearance in the street, the advantages of network information and communication are made manifest to every literate passer-by, or at least that the existence of digital culture is not a mystery, that no special expertise is required in order to handle it, and that the rich content of the Net offers the procurement of information, as well as dialogue. That discourse which anyone can conduct, with the aid of a touch-sensitive, active monitor, whether by way of the writing and receiving of e-mail (electronic mail) with someone else, or by way of the content created and published via someone else's labours, be they anywhere at all in the world, is all rendered true-to-life, which is unimaginable when lacking concrete experience, though obvious once it has been tried out: that is, why the Internet is different and why it is good; why it is worthwhile and important to incorporate its existence into our daily lives.
The aim of C3, in the development and operation of the WebTerminal, is to demonstrate the multi-layered, personal and public format of network communications, its practical employment and its inherent possibilities. The WebTerminal is at once an instrument for the quick acquisition of practical information, like, for example, a telephone number, a train schedule or a cinema program, while at the same time allowing the search for the program on the homepage of one of the TV channels. It is suitable for the reading and writing of letters, as well as being a novel medium for advertising, or for special programs of moving images or sound recordings. The search for content on the Net is primarily limited by the inconvenience deriving from waiting: everything which is connected to any network by other media is accessible via the WebTerminal; it is only not certain that this is the most optimal method of usage. It is precisely for this reason that the WebTerminal has appeared, with its monitor offering the information presumed to be in greatest demand, facilitating its functional employment. The WebTerminal's Internet connection is provided by a high bandwidth line, the so-called ADSL, thanks to Matáv (Hungarian Telecom), which allows for a permanent connection, as well as the transmission of Real-Time Movies.
We thank our partners and the institutions who have provided locations for the WebTerminal prototypes for their kind cooperation.