Where there is more than one payphone at a particular site, Telstra may reduce the number of payphones at that site, to a minimum of one, as considered necessary. Factors influencing this reduction may be:
- changes in usage and demand as assessed by Telstra
- where one or more of the payphones is an obsolete product or technology
- where changes are made to the booth type to improve access or to meet site owner needs.
Where a payphone is the only payphone at a site, in addition to factors above, Telstra may also remove that payphone where:
- the site no longer meets the criteria for a payphone as outlined in Section 3.8
- there is demonstrable evidence, and community agreement, that the local community no longer want the payphone
- there has been significant or sustained costs due to repeated misuse and damage to the facility
- the health or safety of the public or Telstra staff is at high risk due to issues relating to the location of the pay phone.
Before removing the facility Telstra will consult with the local community, site owner, and local Government authority. This will include the posting of a notice in the facility for at least three months, indicating Telstra's plan to remove the facility and inviting comment. Any comments provided by the local community, site owner, and local government authority will be taken into account in making a final decision about removal of the service. The letter, which Telstra provides the local government authority, includes information that is materially similar to that in the notice posted within the facility. A notice may not be posted before a payphone is removed if:
- the payphone facility is being re-sited, and the new site is within line of sight of the existing one
- the payphone is located internally at a privately owned site
- the payphone is being removed to allow commercial works, road alterations, etc, to occur
- the payphone facility has been severely damaged by vandalism and alternate sites are not available.
In a situation where a payphone is the only payphone at a public site and has been destroyed by an accident, Telstra will post a notice informing the local community of any intention to relocate or remove the payphone. Where possible, the notice will be posted at the site of the payphone destroyed by the accident but there may be factors that prevent Telstra from being able to give effect to this requirement. In such instances, Telstra will use an alternative method for notification, for example, written advice to the local council or community group, or a notice in the local newspaper.
The notice referred to above contains the following information:
- Telstra contact details
- Written advice regarding the removal outcome will be provided where requested
- Timeframe in which consumers need to provide comment if required
- Location of the nearest pay phone
- Decision to remove payphone is based on criteria within the Standard Marketing Plan.
Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed removal by writing to the Payphone Siting Manager, Locked Bag 6658, Sydney, NSW, 2001
Telstra will acknowledge in writing all written comments received regarding the removal of the payphone within 5 working days and will advise of the final decision in writing, if requested, within 30 days of the end of the 3 month notification period.
Where a relocation request is made for a removal or relocation of a payphone and that request does not meet one or more of the criteria above then the requestor, including Local, State or Federal government authorities, may be asked to fund the part or total cost of the relocation. Examples are where the site is impacted by alterations in the surrounding environment such as road widening or commercial development activity, or where a relocation or removal request is made which only benefits the requestor and not the whole community.
If after contacting Telstra you remain concerned that the removal of this payphone facility will result in Telstra not meeting its Universal Service Obligation, you may refer the matter to the industry regulator - the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) - on 1300 761 866.