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BIX will also localize Internet traffic, making the sending and receiving of information over the Internet both quicker and cheaper.

''All ISP's connected to BIX will also be connected to each other so Internet traffic will become more localized.'' All this expected to translate into cheaper Internet packages for consumers.

''Opening up the market will help improve efficiency. The new ISP providers will focus their energies on Internet services because it will be their core business,'' said Shaikh Hamed.

BIX will initially be government body outsourcing its expertise, but will eventually be owned by the ISP's themselves as a non-profit organization. The telecommunications market will be completely liberalized at the beginning of next month.

The opening up of the market also covers fixed local and international landlines, V-SAT (two-way satellites) licenses and more.

Shaikh Hamed said the opening up of the market will create many new industries, possibly including companies specializing in the storage if information.

''Data centers, storing large amounts of information on behalf of other companies, could become connected to the exchange and provide the information over the Internet,'' he said. Tenders are open for companies to build, operate and eventually transfer the exchange until July 13, but Shaikh Hamed said there has already been licensed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority including Batelco and MTC-Vodafone.
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