Public payphones secured for 20 years

The number of payphones is expected to decrease to fewer than 20,000

Public payphones secured for 20 years

The uptake of mobile phones in Australia has seen the number of payphones decrease from 87,000 in 1993 to 35,000 in 2010 with the number expected to decrease to fewer than 20,000 in the coming years.

In an effort to keep payphones on city footpaths and in country towns, the Federal Government has signed a commercial contract worth $40 million a year for the next 20 years with Telstra to ensure the current 18,074 Telstra owned payphones remain serviced and in working order.

It is fair to say that payphones are now an obsolete technology inAustralia, with use seemingly limited to one-off calls and tourists making overseas phone calls. I find the idea that the government is spending $40 million a year to keep the payphone system operational a tad excessive, even if it provides peace of mind that there is a phone nearby in case of an emergency.

What do you think? Is my age blinding me from an essential service utilised by the older generation, or should the Federal Government limit the number of payphones they are willing to fund throughout the country to lower the cost?





    COMMENTS

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    Nan Norma
    8th Feb 2013
    3:37pm
    Yes, Drew, you are blind. No offence. There are still people who don't have mobile phones. The elderly, the homeless and what about those that may have lost their phone or had it stolen while out, or simply forgot ito take it with them. The phones need to stay, at least for some years until something new and better replaces them.
    Dotty
    8th Feb 2013
    5:01pm
    I agree with you Nan Norma, as not all have a mobile phone and sometimes(Most times) there is a break in the mobile towers and you have no reception anyway!
    So , No I say that they should keep the pay phones in action for more cases than just stated by you!
    Dottie
    Janetta
    8th Feb 2013
    5:09pm
    problem is, some payphones only accept phone cards, not much help in an emergency.
    bearbin
    8th Feb 2013
    5:10pm
    Goodness Drew,
    What about all of us Grey Nomads who travel the country and cannot afford a Satellite phone. We rely on the public phones at times. Perhaps when the country has mobile signals EVERYWHERE and the public phone is not needed, then and only then should they be reduced in numbers. City people do not seem to understand the problems in the bush at all.
    What about the people who do not own a mobile phone, or cannot afford one. Many oldies do not understand the technology so keep the public phones PLEASE....
    talofa
    8th Feb 2013
    5:52pm
    I HOPE THAT PAYPHONES STAY A LITTLE LONG DESPITE HAVEING A MOBILE PHONE FOR
    EMERGENCIES...I MOSTLY USE THE LANDLINE PHONE WHICH ALSO IS MY CONNECTION TO IT
    I HAVE A PACKAGE FROM 'O N E S E N I O R S' WHERE THE MOBILE COSTS ME $10 P.M.
    THE WHOLE PACKAGE COSTS CA. $66 P.M. WHICH INCLUDES EVERYTHING EVEN ALL MY
    'PHONECALLS + BROADBAND & LANDLINE TALOFA
    Pardelope
    8th Feb 2013
    6:00pm
    In my experience, when you need to use a phone in emergency e.g. vehicle breakdown, Murphy's Law says that the mobile phone battery has died, there is a dead spot for reception, your mobile phone has been lost or stolen - or the surroundings are too noisy to hear properly. A public phone which accepts coins can still be a life-saver. I believe there should be alternative options - and we should not all become slaves to mobile devices.
    Nan Norma
    8th Feb 2013
    6:06pm
    pardelope. Slaves???? Too late, look around you at the young ones. They do everything while still talking on their mobiles.
    RichF
    8th Feb 2013
    6:17pm
    O.K. We are low rate users of phones but we manage two mobiles for about $15 a month total (Virgin prepaid) and run landline with One Senior which costs between $22 and $25 a month. About $40 all up but it would still be nice to have a public call box available for all those reasons already mentioned by the others.
    didi
    8th Feb 2013
    9:07pm
    This issue was raised some years ago in our country town and many were astonished to see 3 of the 5 payphones (as you call them - public phone as I call them!) removed with the threat to the remaining 2 to be removed at a later date. An outcry saw the 2 'promised' not to be removed. Those without a mobile phone for one reason or another NEED the use of a public phone no questions asked.

    8th Feb 2013
    9:48pm
    When I mover in to my current home there were 4 public phone boxes i walking distance. The one across the road which always worked and was clean the lady who's house it was in front of used to clean it.
    The one by by the school which is always broken.
    The two by the post office that the local yobs would hang round being offensive and using the phones for god knows what.
    Now there are are only 3 phones you can guess which one telstra got rid of.
    The places the phone boxes are needed are the places they are not placed. If there is good mobile coverage and plent of privately owned public use phones you will find a Phone box.(outside shopping centres for example). but in an ordanary suburb away from shops forget it. On a country road forget it, anywhere with no cell coverage forget it.
    If they are there , working clean and i needed to make a call,I'd use one but they never are.
    My home phone died a a couple of years ago it took me 3 hrs to find a working public phone and it was in a pub.
    Truth is round here the only people who seem to use them are crooks/drug dealers etc (I think they are less keen on mobiles since they started putting GPSs in them.)

    Put then where needed (not by crooks), maintan them and they become an valueable asset in emergencies(the first thing that crashes in a real emergency is the mobile phone network).
    If they don't maintan them and they are at best an eyesore at worste a possible fatal distraction(time wasted going to a none working phone has cost lifes in the past)

    Do we need them yes but only if the work and are in the right places.
    FrankC
    8th Feb 2013
    11:06pm
    I use Amaysim prepaid, and $20 can last me up to 10 weeks. With Amaysim prepaid, your top up of $20, 30, 50 is current for 3 months, yes three months, and calls are at 12 cents per minute, not 1/2 minute, a full minute. That's why the top up lasts longer than most.
    Nan Norma
    11th Feb 2013
    10:02am
    I use Amaysim too. You can top up for $10 too and have 90 days to use it. If you top before the 90 days you keep whatever is still left. You can go on line or buy voucher. Thats right, only 12c a minute and no flag fall. I can't believe why more people aren't using it. I use Optus for my house phone. $54.45 gets me phone rental, all local calls, national calls, 13 numbers and 50 G broadband. No mobile call so I use Amaysim.
    Dancer
    9th Feb 2013
    5:38pm
    Of course pay phones or public phones must stay! We know that many (most?) people have mobile phones but they are useless if the battery is flat, or if there is no credit on a pre-paid mobile. Land lines are becoming less common, and cordless phones may not be reliable in an emergency. Public phone boxes on street corners and in shopping centres provide a sense of security. They must be kept and they must be maintained in good working order.
    cdbstock
    9th Feb 2013
    6:51pm
    I agree with Drew - tecnology has changed - towns are closer, mobile phones are everywhere, every long-haul truck has radiocomms, cars are much more reliable resulting in very few breakdowns, expressways have fixed line phones - and governments have more important uses of taxpayers' money.
    sandyfaye
    12th Feb 2013
    12:14pm
    I'm over retiring age and have a CHEAP mobile to keep in touch and for emergencies. 99% of my friends and acquaintances are the same. Some even have FANCY phones.
    My suggestion would be to have public phones available in HOT SPOTS like outside schools and in shopping centres. All shopping centres have many buses heading their way so would be easy to access even if you don't drive. The Govt needs to curb this excessive spending.


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