With one eye firmly on the liberalisation of customs barriers within the EEC in 1992, International Network Services, the electronic data interchange company formed by ICL and GE Information Services one year ago, has announced an international bridge to link their two co-existing network services together. The company – 60% ICL, 40% GE – which is based in Sunbury-on Thames in Middlesex, claims the link will create the largest system for exchanging data in the world. Despite previous suggestions that the networks would be physically connected via an X400 message handling service gateway, pressures of time created by explosive customer demand – a doubling to 600 users in the past six months – has forced INS to adopt known, tried and tested IBM 3780 proprietary protocols in the short-term. INS now refers to the X400 as a strategically important product for the future, and has implementation capability at the GE Information Services’ computing centre in Amsterdam. INS also announced plans yesterday to link their interchange service to the bank clearing service BACS to provide an electronic funds transfer facility. The service, to be known as Bacsnet, will complete the electronic trading cycle between companies and banks, and represents a breakthrough for the company into the particularly lucrative financial electronic trading market. Previous efforts to penetrate this market have not been a success: INS was recently beaten by IBM to a prestige contract to provide Lloyds of London with data exchange facilities. The company has also won a contract with the National Freight Consortium distribution group to provide an internal and external information exchange service. It aims to install PCs linked to Head Office in 30 major depots by autumn.