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Wednesday, 21 September 1960

Mr DAVIDSON - I am very glad that the honorable member for Darling Downs was able so successfully to open the new automatic telephone exchange in Toowoomba. It is the first exchange in Australia in which the L. M. Ericsson crossbar type of exchange equipment, of any magnitude, has been installed. 1 say " of any magnitude " because several years ago we established two small exchanges in which this type of exchange equipment was installed. One was at Templestowe in Melbourne and the other was outside Sydney. We did so in order to determine whether the advantages of this type of equipment outweighed those of the types already in operation, the step-by-step system and the bi-motional system, and whether it was advisable to proceed with the installation of the new equipment. Our investigations showed that there were certain very important advantages associated with the new type of equipment, and we have, therefore, decided that it shall be standard practice to install this type of crossbar equipment in Australian exchanges. The installation will take place over a period of years! As new exchanges are brought into operation this kind of equipment will be installed. In cases in which it is necessary to extend exchanges now using the step-by- step or the bi-motional systems,, the crossbar equipment can be installed to effect such extensions.

The honorable member also asked, I think, whether the existing systems could be converted to the crossbar system. It will not be necessary to convert existing types; they will be replaced as the opportunity occurs. Finally, I am asked whether we will be able to manufacture this type of equipment in Australia. The reply is, Yes. The L. M. Ericsson organization has arranged with both Telephone and Electrical Industries Proprietary Limited and Standard Telephones and Cables Proprietary Limited to manufacture this type of equipment in Australia. Both companies are at present tooling up and preparing their organizations so that they can go into production quite soon.

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