Push-Button Telephones

Oral Answers to Questions — Telephone Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th July 1968.

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Photo of Mr Gwilym Roberts Mr Gwilym Roberts , Bedfordshire South 12:00 am, 25th July 1968

asked the Postmaster-General when push-button telephone facilities will become available to the general public; and what research his Department is carrying out into the development of telephone-computer pushbutton linkages which will enable private telephone subscribers and business firms to pay bills with ready-punched cards over the telephone.

Mr. Storehouse:

We are re-examining our plans for providing push-button telephones. Until the review is complete I am unable to estimate when they will be generally available. Research is being conducted into all forms of data transmission by telephone, but it is too early to say whether this development will be economically justified.

Photo of Mr Gwilym Roberts Mr Gwilym Roberts , Bedfordshire South

Would my right hon. Friend accept that in striking a balance between short-term needs and long-term research there is always a danger that long-term research may be neglected? Does he not feel that unless more money is spent in the long-term, by the mid-1970s our telephone apparatus generally will compare unfavourably with some operating in other countries?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I am satisfied that the long-term research being done both by the Post Office and by industry in this country is extremely good and that it has created a situation in which we are well in advance of many other parts of the world.

Photo of Mr Dudley Smith Mr Dudley Smith , Warwick and Leamington

Is the Postmaster-General aware that all this talk about technological advance cuts very little ice with the residents of rural Leamington Spa, some of whom have been waiting for over six months for telephones? As a new broom in his Department, would he please do something about it?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I very much hope that things can be improved.