Monday, March 31, 2008

the public phone booth, our new endangered species

Before privatisation we used to get some semblance of service from the then Telecom, however since privatisation every year I have seen Telstra remove more and more public phone booths from our community.
We are told by Telstra that "demand has fallen due to mobile phone usage". That doesn't mean we shouldn't have public phones available for our community.
what if your battery is flat?
what if the mobile tower is inoperable?
what if your mobile phone has been stolen?
what if you don't own a mobile phone?
what if you can't afford a mobile phone?
what if you're too young to have a mobile phone?
what if you'd rather pay for a local call not a mobile call?
what if your pre-paid card has run out of credit?
sorry too bad, demand has fallen (for public phones) you have no choice anymore.
Upon hearing of the proposed removal of not only this phone booth but numerous booths throughout the shire, Council wrote to Telstra and stated "many people who rely on access to payphones, especially in the identified areas where mobile phone coverage may be poor for some of the mobile phone service providers. The Shire is also an area which experiences significant visits from both local and international tourists. Many of these tourists rely on public payphones, particularly international visitors.

It is also considered that whilst mobile phone usage is growing, this is not so for the very young and the elderly, and those on low incomes. Access to public payphones is needed for these members of the community.

The Shire of Yarra Ranges does not support the removal of a further seven (7) payphones (just as it did not support the removal of the initial five (5) payphones) and requests that Telstra seriously reconsider this proposal."
It goes without saying that Telstra didn't seriously reconsider and we see yet another phone booth disappear in Belgrave.
I am appauled by the lack of respect for our community, but I guess this is the result of privatisation where profit is always put before people.

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