HC Deb 23 July 1963 vol 681 cc1241-2
10. Sir B. Janner

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that when a number is dialled the engaged signal comes through if all the junctions are busy between the two exchanges, and that this gives a false impression to the dialler who thinks that the telephone of the person being called is engaged; and what steps he will take in order to rectify the position.

Mr. Bevins

I am sorry if the present practice sometimes leads to misunder- standing. But I do not think that the circumstances would justify the cost of providing an additional type of engaged signal to indicate that the intermediate plant was engaged, rather than the called person's line. I try, by the provision of additional plant, to keep to a minimum the number of instances where intermediate plant is engaged.

Sir B. Janner

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this is a very serious matter from the point of view of an individual who rings up his home, gets the engaged signal, thinks there is no one at home and is very worried as a result of it? Is it because the right hon. Gentleman has not sufficient cable available for new junctions, or what is the trouble? Why does he not supply sufficient junctions? Is he aware that on one occasion it took nearly two hours before anyone could get a reply?

Mr. Bevins

The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to give me details of his complaint in a letter. Frankly, at the moment I do not understand it, because at the Malden exchange, to which I think he was referring, there are 800 junctions, and that means that there would have to be about 800 simultaneous telephone calls for this situation to arise. However, I have instructed my staff to carry out an investigation of the situation at Maiden, and I will communicate with the hon. Gentleman as soon as I can.

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