HC Deb 10 October 1912 vol 42 cc528-9
77. Captain CRAIG

asked whether any steps have yet been taken to provide a public telephone call office at Down-patrick, county Down, in accordance with the promised inquiry into the question?


A canvass has been made at Downpatrick with results that are not unsatisfactory, and the financial aspect of the case is now being examined. I hope to be in a position to arrive at a decision very shortly.


asked whether official inquiry was made in the early part of this year with a view to the establishment of a telephone service at Pateley Bridge; whether the requisite number of subscribers was obtained; and, if so, when it may be expected that the service will be established?


A canvass was made at Pateley Bridge, but with only a moderate amount of success. Sufficient subscribers were not obtained, but the financial aspect of the case is now being further examined, and I hope shortly to be able to say what further support is necessary.


asked the Post master-General whether his attention has been drawn to the speeches made at the autumnal meeting of the Association of Chambers of Commerce at Newcastle, on 11th September, complaining of the inefficiency of the telephone service; whether he received a copy of a resolution unanimously passed at that meeting concerning the administration of the telephone service; and whether, in view of the repeated requests from that representative body for the appointment of a Commission or Parliamentary Committee to inquire into the administration of the service and the question of rates, he can now state in how far he intends to meet these representations?


My attention has been drawn to the speeches in question, and I have had inquiry made as to the complaints of the speakers. I cannot but think them greatly exaggerated. The mover of the resolution stated that out of one hundred of his recent calls, sixty-two were interrupted and forty-nine cut off. In point of fact, he appears to have made no complaint to the local exchange in respect of these calls, and when asked for further particulars failed to furnish them, but stated that his service had greatly improved. As regards the resolution of the association which I have received, I have repeatedly promised that, if the revised rates proposed to be fixed after the purchase price of the National Telephone Company's system is settled are not generally acceptable a public inquiry shall be held. I am unable to say more at present.

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