Telstra must dish out payphone info

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Telstra must dish out payphone info

The Federal Government has slapped Telstra on the wrist for not ensuring greater community consultation on the issue of public phone removal.

The Federal Government has slapped Telstra on the wrist for not ensuring greater community consultation on the issue of public phone removal.

ICT Minister Helen Coonan has announced a number of initiatives to ensure the telco conducts more consultation and offers better information on any proposed plans for the removal of community payphones.

“While Telstra should be free to make commercial decisions relating to the location of its payphones, the Government is committed to ensuring that Telstra continues to meet its obligations under the Universal Service Obligation (USO),” she said in a statement.

The Government will require Telstra to amend its standard marketing plan to give a clearer description of exactly what constitutes having reasonable access to a payphone, and what constitutes a USO classified payphone, Coonan.

Telstra will be required to conduct proper consultation processes where a non-USO payphone is to be removed or relocated.

“The telco will also be required to notify the public about the reasons why Telstra intends to remove a payphone and details on how a person can object to the proposed removal,” Coonan said.

The government would also remind taxpayers as to whom they could complain to about a payphone's removal.

“The removal notice will also include an explicit reference to the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s role as the regulator of Telstra’s payphone obligations,” she said.

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