30. Sir F. HALL
asked the Postmaster-General whether Mr. C. J. Cusack made an application for the installation of a telephone at his private house, 57, Calton Road, Dulwich, in the early part of 1918; whether, notwithstanding repeated applications, telephonic communication has not yet been provided; whether intimation was given a few days ago that, owing to there being no spare wires in the underground cables in Dulwich, connection could only be made provided the would-be subscriber was prepared to pay an initial surcharge of £277; whether, in the event of the telephone system being worked by a public company, instead of by the Government, the latter would countenance such demands being made before a connection was effected; whether, considering that a telephone system is operated by the Government and should be for the benefit of the community at large, steps will immediately be taken to provide the necessary underground wires in Dulwich; and, furthermore, that he will give instructions for Mr. Cusack to be connected by telephone without further delay and without any additional cost beyond the usual recognised charges?
§ The POSTMASTER-GENERAL (Mr. Illingworth)
The facts are substantially as stated. It has been impossible to lay additional underground telephone cables for commercial purposes during the War, but active steps are now being taken to 2194 carry out the necessary works, and Dulwich will not be overlooked. A modification of the present rules as to the surcharge, which has to be paid by new subscribers, is under consideration.
Sir F. HALL
Are the public to understand that if they require the telephone system installed they have to bear the cost of laying down the wires, which should be borne by the Postmaster-General, and does he think it fair or equitable that the people who have connection should be surcharged, as in this case, £277 for one installation?
Sir F. HALL
As this would-be subscriber has been eighteen months waiting to be connected, may I take it that within the next two or three weeks he certainly will be connected?
§ Mr. ILLINGWORTH
Everything possible will be done. The consideration of the question of modification does not entirely rest on my shoulders.
Sir F. HALL
May I press for a further answer? Are we to understand that it is the Treasury or some other Department which is holding up the matter?