Residents fight for pay phone

RESIDENTS in the tiny community of Tyringham are concerned they may soon lose access to their public phone.

For the past three months, Telstra has had a sticker on the phone inviting customers to make public submissions about the proposal to remove the pay phone.

The phone is on Briner Street, opposite the local store. Telstra provides another pay phone about a kilometre away at Dundurrabin.

Dundurrabin resident Carolyn Lange said she did not have a home phone line and relied on both phones.

“It's really important,” she said. “It floods over the bridge when it rains and you need both phones to let people know if you're stranded.”

Meredith Stanton lives at nearby Billys Creek and said due to poor mobile network coverage, in the past she has had to use the Tyringham pay phone when storms have brought down her fixed line.

“I certainly use it when the landline has been struck by lightning and I don't have phone access for a number of days,” she said.

She said there needed to be a phone in sight of the road to cater for passing motorists.

A spokeswoman for Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin said after speaking to local residents, Ms Saffin had lobbied for the phone to stay.

Telstra Country Wide North Coast general manager Sue Passmore said Telstra's review process involved removing pay phones that were underutilised, running at a loss and not required under Telstra's universal service obligation.

“Before removing any pay phone, we undertake a detailed and lengthy community consultation,” she said.

The consultation has run for three months and ends tomorrow.

She said Telstra would review all submissions before making a decision. Contact Telstra on 1800 011 433 to make a submission.

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