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Telephone Service

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 28 July 1914

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asked the Postmaster-General whether it is within his knowledge that a telephone subscriber in the neighbourhood of Tisbury, in the county of Wilts, has been cut off from the local telephone exchange owing to his refusal to pay the cost of the connection of his premises with such exchange pending the payment by the Post Office to such subscriber of considerable sums of money which have been long outstanding by way of rent or acknowledgment for the erection of several poles across his land at Norton Bavant without asking for the consent either of himself or his farm tenant; and, if so, whether he has sanctioned such action?

The telephone subscriber in question has refused to pay his telephone subscription on account of a counter claim he has made in respect of the wayleave for a circuit installed for one of his tenants, and after protracted negotiations the service had to be cut off, as I am not authorised to give telephone service without payment. For the way-leave in question the Post Office is willing to pay at the usual rates, but this offer is refused and a prohibitive amount is being demanded.

asked the Postmaster-General what was the number of subscribers connected with the National Telephone system in the London area at the time of its transfer; what was the cost per subscriber; and what is the present cost?

The number of subscribers' stations connected with the National Telephone system in the London area at the time of its transfer was 140,947; the number on the combined systems on 31st March, 1914, was 258,895; the cost per subscriber's station cannot be stated, as the company's published accounts do not distinguish between the London area and the rest of the Kingdom.

asked the Postmaster-General whether three years' rental for telephone wayleaves due to the Aberdeen Harbour Commission remain unpaid notwithstanding the fact that repeated applications for payment have been made; and, if so, will he undertake to see that the amount past due will be remitted without further delay?

No settlement has been made between the Post Office and the Aberdeen Harbour Commission to pay rent in respect of telephone wayleaves, and, as my hon. Friend is aware, the Post Office has been endeavouring to arrange an agreement. Considering that the telegraphs for which the wayleaves are required are erected on the property of the Commission mainly for the benefit of the Commission and their tenants, I think that the rental offered to them is liberal, and I regret that they have not yet seen fit to accept it.