Free national calling from 15,000 public payphones

Telstra today announced that it will be offering free national calling from 15,000 public payphones on an ongoing basis.

Telstra receives funding of $40 million per annum from the telecommunications industry and the Commonwealth to provide payphones under the Australian Government’s Universal Service Obligation for telecommunications.

With payphone use declining, the Government will monitor the impact of this initiative closely, along with the ongoing role of payphones and Telstra’s delivery on its commitments under the USO.

Telstra has committed that it will not seek any increase in the USO funding it receives for payphones as a result of this decision.

‘While this is an operational decision made by Telstra, the government will closely monitor its impact,” Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said.

“Payphones remain an important communications option, particularly for vulnerable members of our community.

“Telstra has previously made payphones free in Indigenous communities and in communities affected by natural disasters.

“If this decision further improves accessibility to communications it will be a positive step.”

/Public Release. View in full here.