HC Deb 02 May 1884 vol 287 cc1155-6

asked the Postmaster General, If he could state to the House, the number of exchange and private telephone wires respectively there are in use by the Northern Telephone Company, worked and maintained by the Company at its own expense, at Newcastle on Tyne, according to the latest Return furnished by the Department; the amount of the royalties paid to the Department per annum therefrom respectively; the number of telephone wires similarly in use respectively by the Post Office at the same date; the cost of the same; the revenue therefrom; the royalties which the Post Office would receive therefrom, without cost to the Department, assuming them to have been erected and maintained by a private company, and to be charged the same rate for royalty as now charged by the Department to the Company in Newcastle on Tyne?


In reply to my hon. Friend, I may state that on the 31st of March last the Northern District Telephone Company had 54 subscribers to their telephone exchange in Newcastle-on-Tyne, and £54 was returned by the Company as payable to the Post Office on account of royalties. At the same date the Post Office had 362 subscribers, who paid rentals amounting to £7,750 per annum. Assuming that there was the same number of subscribers, and that the same rentals were paid to a private Company, the royalty would be £775. The profit obtained by the Post Office is certainly larger than this amount. No return is rendered by the Northern District Telephone Company of private wires; and I am, therefore, unable to contrast the figures relating to such wires with those of the Post Office.


What is the cost to the Department of the erection and maintenance of the wires, and the profits above that?


I cannot say. I am sure the profit to the Post Office is greater than that of erection and maintenance.