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Wednesday, July 21, 1999 Published at 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK

Special Report

'Ground-breaking' council goes online

Internet users can log-in to council meetings

Internet users from around the globe will be able to eavesdrop on meetings of a Welsh local authority now that it has gone online.

Gwynedd Council is the first authority in Wales to broadcast meetings live on the Internet.

Anyone, in any part of the world, who has access to the Internet can watch and listen to meetings held at Gwynedd Council's headquarters at Siambr Dafydd Orwig in Caernarfon.

Internet users will be able to listen to meetings in both English and Welsh, although the system will shut down automatically when confidential matters are being discussed.

"Revolutionary" service

The project was developed by a team from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and will be run by the council's own Information Technology department.

Users have to pay for the service at the moment but the council's IT strategy officer, Richard Walker, said he hoped the service would be free in future.

"We're breaking new ground with this system and it is possible that minor problems will occur, but I believe what the council is doing is revolutionary, and we will be looking at ways of extending this kind of service."

"Democracy at its best".

Executive Committee member, councillor Arwel Jones, added: "We're using the latest technology to create an open and accountable council.

"This is democracy at its best - using the Internet to broadcast meetings means that our discussions are opened up for the world to see."

The project has been funded in part by Llwybr/Pathway - a European scheme to promote information in rural Welsh communities.

To see a meeting in progress visit Gwynedd Council's Website - - and click on the "democracy" site.

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