§ Mr. BOWEN
asked the Postmaster-General what are the comparative all-in costs (including cost of buildings and equipment, maintenance, staff, depreciation, &c.) of the automatic and manual telephone systems, respectively, in the London telephone service; what is the average time taken per completed call on each of the two systems; and what is the estimated saving of staff per 1,000 lines and per million originated calls effected by the use of the automatic system?
§ Mr. LEES - SMITH
Sufficient experience has not yet been gained of the London automatic system to enable me to say what the all-in costs will be in comparison with those of the manual system. The first Director exchange was opened at the end of 1927, and while a further 26 exchanges have since been converted, the programme contemplates the provision of about 150 automatic exchanges before the conversion is complete; in the meantime the necessity for inter-communication between the automatic and manual exchanges greatly complicates the system. Considerable technical improvements have been effected since the first exchange was opened, and I expect that this process will continue and that it will be a few years yet before stability is reached in costs, but it is already clear that considerable operating savings are being effected. The average time of completion for calls originated by a subscriber on a manual exchange is about 37 seconds, and for calls between two automatic exchanges rather less than 30 seconds.