§ Mr. Boyce
asked the Postmaster-General what progress has been made in respect of the Government's proposed broadcasting relay service by telephone; when such service will be available to the public; and whether he is now in a position to give particulars of the proposed charges to be made to telephone subscribers for the instalation and maintenance of the necessary additional apparatus?
§ Major Tryon
On 16th June, 1939, I gave the House some details of a scheme for the distribution of broadcast programmes over telephone lines; and I expressed the hope that my Department would be able to take the first step by introducing such a service about the end of the year in Central London and in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester. As the House is aware, the outbreak of war resulted in heavy demands being made on the telephone service for defence purposes, while at the same time many members of the engineering staff were withdrawn for service with the Forces. The preparations for the new wire broadcasting service were necessarily delayed, and the question arose whether it would be desirable to proceed with the scheme or to postpone it. After full consideration of this question in all its aspects, the Government has reached the conclusion that the advantages likely to be derived from the introduction and development of the service under present conditions would not be sufficient to justify the diversion of capital and skilled labour from other war-time activities. It has been decided, therefore, to postpone the introduction of the service until the end of the war.