In March Britain’s BT will be the latest big company to cease offering telex services. “All good things come to an end,” says a spokesman. Britain will then join around 30 countries including Austria, Germany and Russia that no longer provide telex through their national telecoms operators.But that clears the way for nimble, low-cost competitors. These have turned round the technology. As well as maintaining the old-fashioned service involving terminals and dedicated lines, they provide telex services both over phone lines and over the internet—in effect, making it a secure and ultra-reliable variant of e-mail. One, SwissTelex, is a spin-off from the Swiss national telecoms operator that offers international telex services and has taken over BT’s network. Another is EasyLink, based in America, which provides a service for Dutch, Belgian and Japanese subscribers.
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