§ Mr. A. T. DAVIES
asked the Postmaster General whether, in view of the complaints of users, the advisability of an inquiry into the agreements for renting telephone apparatus will be considered; whether he is aware that the present system of charge in accordance with the number of calls is generally considered as unsatisfactory while no register of the calls is provided on subscribers' premises; and, if no inquiry is considered necessary, what is being done to remedy the present grievance in this matter?
I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the 550W form of telephone agreement in use. Much consideration has been given to the question of providing automatic meters on subscribers' premises, but up to the present no meter has been invented which satisfactorily distinguishes between effective and ineffective calls. Complaints of overcharge for calls are now relatively few. Such as are received are investigated and allowance is made in any case in which there is clear evidence of error in the Post Office records.
§ Major WARING
asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that telephone facilities have been refused to Abbey St. Bathans unless a guarantee of £20 per annum is forthcoming; why so high a guarantee is demanded; what would be the cost of installing the telephone; and whether he will consider reducing the amount of the guarantee?
The annual charges in respect of a public call office at Abbey St. Bathans would be approximately £20, and as it is estimated that the receipts would fall considerably short of this sum a guarantee is required to make good the difference between the receipts from local fees plus half the trunk fees and £20. The £20 covers the east of maintaining nearly four miles of double wire as well as certain apparatus and the cost of operating, and I regret I am not in a position to reduce the guarantee.