Kells in County Meath switches from a manual telephone exchange to a new automatic digital system with the aid of French technology.

The first E 10 digital telephone exchange in Ireland to switch over from manual to automatic was launched in Kells, County Meath by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs Patrick Cooney accompanied by his French counterpart Louis Mexandeau.

Kells and its five satellite exchanges went from a primitive, manually controlled telephone system, to the latest in computer based digital technology. Monsieur Mexandeau tested the new facilities by making a phone call to the French Embassy in Dublin.

The new technology was developed by Irish company Telectron in association with the French group Compagnie Industrielle des Télécommunications (CIT) Alcatel.

CIT Alcatel is currently supplying its range of exchanges to 26 countries and Mr Cooney is confident the five year plan to revolutionise the Irish communications service is on target and the list of Irish people waiting for a telephone line will be eliminated by mid 1983.

Mr Cooney praised the French involvement with the project.

It symbolises the very good relationship we’ve had historically with France, it symbolises the help that we have got in practical terms, that we’ve got in P&T from French P&T, there's a very close liaison and close relationship there.

The new exchange depends on microchips and has no mechanical moving parts, as such it is much smaller and cheaper to install. It has the potential to reduce manpower from thirty to three, it can list out circuits, find faulty lines and give off warning signals.

An RTÉ News report by Jim Fahy broadcast on 19 January 1982.