§ Mr. BARCLAY-HARVEY
asked the Postmaster-General (1) what was the cost of establishing a rural telephone exchange in 1925; what is the cost to-day; and what were the charges to subscribers in 1925 and what they are to-day; and
(2) what was the cost of erecting a mile of rural telephone line in 1925; what it is at the present time; and how much of those costs are represented by materials and labour, respectively?
§ Sir K. WOOD
, pursuant to his reply [OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th July, 1933, col. 1529, Vol. 2801, supplied the following information:
(1) Rural telephone exchanges provided in 1925 were generally of a manual type, whereas to-day new rural exchanges are mainly of automatic type, and a comparison between the costs of installation of these two types would be misleading.
The charges payable in 1925 and at the present time by subscribers served by rural exchanges are as follows:
1925—Where the number of subscribers was 15 or more—£7 (business), £5 10s. (residential).
Where the number of subscribers was more than seven but less than 15—£28 (business or residential).
Present Day—Where the number of subscribers is eight or more—£7 £5 10s. (residential).
The rental charges shown for 1925 covered a radius of one and a-half miles from the exchange; the present-day charges cover a radius of two miles. The fees payable in respect of local calls are the same now as in 1925, but there have been reductions since that date in the charges for long-distance trunk calls. I should perhaps add that at the present time there is a considerable annual loss on the rural exchange system.
(2) In 1925 the average cost of erecting a mile of rural telephone line carrying one circuit was £90 (materials £34, labour £56). At the present time a similar line could be erected for £60 (materials £25, labour £35).