§ Mr. Goodhew
asked the Minister of Technology, why the contract for computers in the Linesman system awarded to Automatic Telegraph and Exchange Company, now part of Plessey, was not given to one of the companies operating in this country who are regular manufacturers of computers.
§ Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu
In 1957 the Automatic Telegraph and Exchange Company was selected for initial work on a data processing system which, in more complex form, was subsequently adopted for Linesmen. This system incorporates the majority of the computers employed in Linesman.
At the time when this work began there was no suitable computer available from any firm in this country. Furthermore, the techniques required for the design of this system as a whole were seen to be more closely allied to those of telecommunications than to those of scientific computing. Telecommunications was a field in which A.T. & E. possessed great expertise, and this firm had already carried out work on a system similar to that required for Linesman.
The computers developed under this contract show every sign of fully meeting the requirement, both as regards performance and reliability.
Elsewhere in Linesman, computers supplied by the Marconi Company and Elliott Automation Ltd., are also used.