HC Deb 29 January 1913 vol 47 c1337

asked the Postmaster-General (1) whether a code word costs more to transmit by cable than a plain-language word; and, if not, whether he can give to the plain man the advantage that comes to the commercial man, who has raised coding to such a fine art that he can transfer, by cabling one word, the contents of a business letter requesting detailed quotations for an extensive waterworks plant; (2) whether he can give an accurate estimate of the cost of completing the last link in the All-Red cable; and (3) whether, from his experience of deferred cables to Australasia, he could give an estimate of the increased business that would accrue to the Pacific cable if he altered deferreds to include codes at 1s. 6d. a word, and ordinary plain language at 1s. a word?


The cost of dealing with a code word is undoubtedly greater on the average than that of dealing with a plain-language word, and this was one of the considerations which induced the cable companies to accept the system of half rates for deferred telegrams in plain language which came into operation last January. In the case of the Pacific cable, regarding which alone I have definite information, such deferred telegrams during the first half of last year constituted about 17 per cent, of the total traffic (other than Press traffic) passing over that cable between the United Kingdom and Australasia. This appears to have been largely new traffic; but I fear that I cannot from these data estimate the effect of the reductions suggested by the hon. Member. No recent estimate has been obtained of the cost of an Anglo-Canadian cable, but I understand that the cost of a cable laid in 1910 between this country and Newfoundland was about £450,000.