§ SIR J. FERGUSSON (Manchester, N.E.)
I beg to ask the Postmaster General what progress has been made under "The Telegraph Act, 1892," in the acquisition of the trunk lines of telephones from the Companies, in the construction of additional lines, and in the delimitation of the exchanges?
§ MR. A. MORLEY
In reply to my right hon. Friend, I have to say that there has been some delay in carrying out the arrangements which were the subject of discussion before the late Government left Office, due partly to the death of the late Duke of Marlborough, who was one of those who conducted the negotiations on behalf of the Telephone Companies. Considerable progress has, however, now been made, and the delimitation of the exchange areas has been practically completed. I trust that the transfer of the trunk lines of the Companies to the Post Office will not be long delayed. The construction of seven additional lines by the Post Office, including a submarine telephone cable to Ireland, has been completed; and progress has been made with the construction of main lines from London to 12 towns in the North, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, and from South Wales and the South-West of England to the coal ports on the north-east coast. These works are of considerable magnitude, and I do not anticipate that they will be completed before the end of the financial year.