§ Mr. Lubbock
asked the Postmaster-General to what extent telephone subscribers on the Orpington exchange are being asked to share a line against their wishes; and what plans he has for improving the service.
§ Mr. Benn
I am sorry that the information desired is not readily available.
1,868 of the 12,747 connections on Orpington Exchange are provided by shared service. The exchange is nearing exhaustion. Interim relief measures and a permanent extension, involving building work, have been planned.
In our experience many subscribers find sharing offers a fully acceptable service and, indeed, prefer it at the lower rental. Our ultimate aim continues to be the removal of compulsory sharing and the provision of exclusive service to all who want it. It will, however, take some years to build up the plant needed for freedom of choice to be given, and meantime some subscribers will have to be asked to share against their wishes, both at Orpington and elsewhere.