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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK

UK: Scotland

Companies launch Internet exchange

The exchange promises a faster, cheaper service

An Internet exchange which promises a faster and cheaper service for users has being launched in Scotland.

The Scottish Internet Exchange, or ScotiX, which has been described as "a large Internet switching centre" was established following co-operation between telecoms companies.

Scotland now houses one of only 150 of these Internet switching services which are located worldwide to speed commercial activity on the Web.

[ image: Henry McLeish:
Henry McLeish: "Importance of Internet"
Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister Henry McLeish launched the service at the Bank of Scotland's Information Technology Centre in Edinburgh.

The ScotIx project, which has been led by the Internet Society of Scotland, aims to provide a more efficient and cheaper service by sharing Internet traffic.

Speaking ahead of the launch, ScotIx Chairman Frank Binnie said: "This is great news for the Internet users in Scotland because these exchanges will increase the speed of the Internet and reduce users costs."

Mr McLeish said the service would be "another important step forward in Scottish telecoms infrastructure" and the move towards online trading or "e-commerce".

Henry McLeish: "This is a first in Scotland"
Mr McLeish added that all areas of Scottish life could benefit from the effective use of information technology.

He said: "Modern government for Scotland depends on effective use of digital technology.

"It requires vision and co-ordination across the public sector, and partnership with the private and voluntary sectors. We as a government are determined to make sure that happens.

"The e-commerce express may be ready to leave the station but with the commitment of the public and private sector working in partnership, I am confident Scotland can be on-board with the best."

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