THE line on a local Telstra payphone might be permanently disconnected if the company's proposal to remove it goes ahead.
A Telstra spokesman said the phone outside of 612 Goonoo Goonoo Road has logged just 101 calls in the past 12 months. As a result, the company is considering removing it.
"Telstra operates 45 payphones within the Tamworth Regional Council area," the spokesman said.
"The proposed payphone has received very little usage and this is the reason for the proposed removal.
"To date, Telstra has only received one submission regarding the proposal. This was from Tamworth council who have no concerns about the proposed removal."
Locals can have their say on the matter until June 26, after which Telstra "will make a final decision about the proposed removal".
"We consult and collaborate with all stakeholders like payphone users, business, council, and the regulator when payphones are removed, and are open to considering all cases," he said.
According to the spokesman, Telstra has no plans to get rid of the payphones entirely in Australia, as they "continued to serve a vital public utility for many".
"Especially vulnerable citizens like the homeless, those fleeing unsafe home situations, victims of natural disasters, remote Indigenous communities, and those experiencing an emergency," he told the Leader.
"Additionally, we run a free calls campaign over Christmas and the New Year, to encourage our most vulnerable community members to access public payphones and WiFi at no cost so they can connect with loved ones or other vital support services. Last Christmas these calls totalled a staggering 323,000."
In 2020 more than 11 million calls were made from Telstra's payphone network, including 200,000 to Triple Zero.
"There is still demand in the community for phones, and that in an emergency, one phone call to triple zero can potentially be lifesaving," the spokesman said.
"Call volumes were down last year however, owing to the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, etc."
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