Government goes online with G-Net

Internet access to all Government departments will be possible soon thanks to a collaboration between the academic network operator, Ukerna, and Whitehall information systems specialists.

Announcing the new "G-NET" service last week, Robert Hughes, minister for public service and science, said that its connections to the Internet will offer Government employees an electronic mail service, called GMAIL, and connection to the World Wide Web via the academic network SuperJANET.

Mr Hughes was speaking at the Emerging Technology Showcase, a wide-ranging conference on developments in information systems, held at the London School of Economics and run by the government's information systems agency, the CCTA. He said: "GMAIL will allow anyone in government service to communicate electronically with people inside or outside Government quickly and reliably. It will offer clear efficiency benefits, cutting down paper handling and waiting time."

G-NET is due to become fully operational in April. He predicted that by the end of the year heads of business units in Whitehall would be making increasing use of video conferencing and multimedia services to speed up the processes of government. CCTA had begun working on these services, he said.

Mr Hughes offered the possibility of information for the public on the operation of 10 Downing Street, including prime ministerial speeches available electronically.

The address for the the Government information service is http://www.open.gov.uk/

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