City's public pay phones here to stay

PAYPHONES in Dubbo and the central west will remain for at least another 20 years under a recent contract between Telstra and the government.

But the west's Telstra representative says in the last five years there has been a decrease in their numbers at Dubbo.

For the first time, the federal government will pay Telstra directly to maintain their phones nationwide, for a yearly fee of $40 million.

According to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, there are 35,000 payphones in Australia.

Website Ausphreak claims there are 123 payphones at Dubbo, but Telstra Country Wide area manager western NSW Scott Curtin could not confirm the number. He said there had been no reduction at Dubbo and surrounding areas in the last two years, although a significant reduction in the years before.

"In the past five years the number of payphones in the Dubbo area has reduced by 39 per cent," he said.

"Since the introduction and widespread take up of the mobile phone, payphones are declining in use and popularity - demand for payphones has declined by 60 per cent in the past five years.

"However, Telstra continues to review each individual payphone on a regular basis to ensure usage is maximised and fault response times are kept as low as possible."

Mr Curtin added that in the 2011-12 year, Telstra installed 122 new payphones across Australia.

This comes as mobile phone usage across the last five years is revealed to have increased by nearly 30 per cent.

According to the ACMA 2011-12 Communications Report there were an estimated 30.2 million mobile voice and data services in operation in Australia at June 2012.

The 2007-08 report advised there were 21.26 million mobile services in operation in June 2007.

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