§ MR. W. F. D. SMITH (Strand, Westminster)
To ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether he is aware that subscribers to the Post Office Telephones who signed the Post Office Agreement six months ago were then told that connection with the new system would be completed in the Strand district in about eight weeks; and whether he can give any explanation of the delay, and any hope that the inconvenience thus caused will be shortly removed.
(Answer.) The statements mentioned probably had reference to the opening of the service at the new Central Exchange in Queen Victoria Street, which took place on the 24th February last. The connection of the premises of subscribers has been carried forward as rapidly as possible since that date; but it is of course not practicable to deal with every ease at the same time. About 1,650 telephones are now working in connection with that Exchange. In Fleet Street and the Strand district the main cables for subscribers' lines were laid and completed some time ago, but in order to avoid unnecessarily opening the footways in the busiest thoroughfares, arrangements have had to be made to transfer the telegraph wires in the existing pipes under the pavement to other routes, so as to make these pipes available for the distribution of telephone 686 wires. This work is of a difficult and complicated nature, but it is hoped that it will be completed along Fleet Street and the Strand in the course of three weeks or a month. As soon as this has been done the work of connecting the premises of subscribers in the Strand district with the main lines of telephone wires will proceed very rapidly.—(Post Office.)