HC Deb 07 February 1973 vol 850 cc445-6
14. Mr. Hardy

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he will give the latest figure for successful first time connection in the STD system.

Sir J. Eden

The most recent published statistics are those contained in the latest Post Office Report and Accounts.

Mr. Hardy

Is the Minister aware that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get through to Yorkshire from London on the first, second, or even third attempt? Does he agree that the difficulty appears to lie in the London exchanges rather than in Yorkshire, where the service seems to be generally commendable?

Sir J. Eden

I will draw the attention of the Post Office to the points the hon. Gentleman has made. I assure him that the Post Office is providing more lines and equipment, and also improving maintenance generally, in an attempt to combat congestion and plant failures. Further improvement in the quality of services will depend largely on the future modernisation of the telephone system.

Mr. William Price

Is the Minister aware that with these strange little boxes that have been installed all over the House it is difficult to get through to anywhere? [Interruption.] Will the Minister have a word with the Post Office and suggest that it conducts its experiments elsewhere? [Interruption.]

Sir J. Eden

There does not seem to be universal agreement with the hon. Gentleman's view.

18. Mr. David Steel

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if he will now give the date for the start this spring of BBC2 and colour television transmissions in the Borders.

Sir J. Eden

The BBC tells me that it is still too early to say when transmissions of BBC1 and BBC2 in colour will start from Selkirk.

Mr. Steel

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that spring in the Borders is almost upon us? May we be given a date fairly soon?

Sir J. Eden

Weather conditions can change, the freeze may set in, and spring may yet be a little late this year, but I am sure that the BBC will take note of the hon. Gentleman's anxiety. The BBC is doing its best to press ahead with this matter and it will be in a position to give a firm date a few weeks before it is ready to start operations, but it will have to wait until then before coming forward with a fixed target.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is absolutely monstrous that not only Border constituencies but many other places in the United Kingdom are deprived of BBC2? Is he aware that in 1973 many of my constituents will not have the pleasure of receiving BBC2 on 625-lines transmission? Will my right hon. Friend see that more Government money, time and energy are devoted to this?

Sir J. Eden

I am aware of the difficulties of constituents to which my hon. Friend has drawn my attention on this and a number of previous occasions. He will know that the programme for this development over the whole country is being pressed ahead as rapidly as possible.

Mr. Lipton

Are there not a number of people who are grateful for the fact that they cannot receive BBC2?

Sir J. Eden

I have not met them yet.

Mr. Marten

On the more general question of television transmission in the difficult areas, such as the Welsh valleys and the Scottish mountains, have the Government abandoned study into putting up a geostationary satellite for our national use?

Sir J. Eden

It is not a question of abandoning study—certainly not. The relevance to the immediate requirements of such a station is unlikely to be very marked while this further programme is being proceeded with at the present time. As my hon. Friend will have seen, the report of the Television Advisory Committee indicated that there was unlikely to be a rapid development on the satellite front in the next few years.