HC Deb 30 June 1971 vol 820 cc371-2
6. Mr. Peter Rees

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications how many areas of the country are not covered by the subscriber trunk dialling system.

Mr. Chataway

Extension of Subscriber Trunk Dialling is a matter for the Post Office. I am informed however that S.T.D. facilities have now been provided for 90 per cent. of telephone customers.

Mr. Rees

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. When he is discussing its implications with the Post Office, will he bear in mind that the 10 per cent. not yet covered include those in the towns of Dover, Deal and Sandwich, and that it is absurd that the gateway to England and to the Common Market should be one of the last areas to have an up-to-date telephone system?

Mr. Chataway

I am sure that the Post Office will take note of that remark. I understand that Dover is one of the places where the Post Office has had site difficulties, and further delay has been caused by teething troubles over the development of the new type of exchange equipment.

Mr. Gardner

Will my right hon. Friend do something to help the people who use the S.T.D. system and find themselves afflicted with automatic telephones that automatically get the wrong number? Will he impress on the manufacturers of telephone equipment and the Post Office, which installs and maintains that equipment, that many people, including some in my constituency, do not enjoy being constantly reminded of the electronic Stone Age?

Mr. Chataway

On occasion misdial-lings are the result of human error, although I am sure that those are not the mistakes that have afflicted my hon. and learned Friend. I am sure that the Post Office will take note of his remarks.