§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of British Telecom's telephone exchanges rely largely on electromechanical equipment; how many use digital equipment; and what is the estimated cost of equipping an average exchange with digital equipment.
§ Mr. Butcher
As is stated in the British Telecom prospectus, the numbers and types of British Telecom's telephone exchanges on 31 March 1984 were as follows:
Local ex-changes Trunk ex-changes International exchanges Strowger 3,708 331 — Crossbar 571 126 6 TXE 1,965 — — Digital 48 2 1 Total 6,292 459 7
No estimate of the kind the right hon. Member seeks is available. However, BT's modernisation programme involves the installation of digital switching throughout the trunk network during the 1980s and the replacement of electromechanical local exchanges by TXE and, increasingly, digital local exchanges over the next 10 years.