§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)
asked the Postmaster General, If he can give the House any further information as to the new arrangements for telegraphy to the Continent, and the rates to be charged; whether it is true that it is proposed still to charge 2d. per word to France and Belgium, of which at least 1d. is for cable transit across the Channel; whether any existing cables and plant are to be taken over from the Company which has hitherto had the 1588 monopoly; and, if so, whether they are to be taken at the present material value, and the future transit is not to be burdened by any capital payment in the way of direct or indirect compensation to the old Company for loss of the monopoly; and, if he will inquire whether, at the modern cost of manufacture, a paying cable could be laid across the Channel at a less rate than 1d. per word?
§ THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES) (Cambridge University)
In reply to the hon. Member I have to say that, when the Post Office undertakes the working of the cables to the Continent, the charge per word to Belgium will not at first be altered; but the charge to France, which is now 2½d., will be reduced to 2d. No particular proportion of the charge has been assigned to the cable transit. I am not in a position to give any information as to the acquisition of the plant of the Submarine Telegraph Company, as no agreement on the subject has been arrived at. No pains will be spared by the Department to ascertain the necessary cost of services such as this.