COLONEL IVOR PHILIPS (Southampton)
To ask the Postmaster-General if he can state the approximate average annual cost for a telephone installation in a house 100 miles from London when within a telephone exchange area and outside such area but within three miles of an exchange, respectively, and the charge for a call to London in each case; 1328 and what are the approximate corresponding charges for a like service in the kingdom of Norway.
(Answered by Mr. Sydney Buxton.) The minimum charge at small post office provincial exchanges is £5 a year for an exclusive line, and £4 4s. a year for a two-party line. The calls of subscribers very seldom exceed the minimum numbers allowed for these sums. These rates cover connections within one mile of an exchange. An additional charge of £1 5s. per quarter mile, measured radially, is made for extra distances. In Norway the charges for an independent circuit in places outside Christiania vary from £2 4s. to £3 18s. a year, but there are usually entrance fees also to be paid, and additional payments have to be made for double wire circuits. The radius is less than one mile. Beyond this radius subscribers pay the capital cost of constructing their lines. There are also additional charges for maintenance of lines outside the radius, and in some cases subscribers provide and maintain their own instruments. I cannot say exactly what the cost would be of a circuit to a place three miles from an exchange. It must be remembered that in Norway materials and labour are much cheaper than in England, that the standard of construction is much simpler and less costly, and that there are fewer wayleave difficulties. The cost of a trunk call to London from a place 100 miles distant would be Is. In Norway the corresponding charge would be 9½d. for the ordinary service, but about 2s. 4d. for an urgent call. Ordinary calls take effect only when there are no urgent calls on hand. In rural districts the users of trunk lines have to find office room and attendance free for the Government.