15 year old Maggie walks along the dark, narrow path hurriedly. She looks around her - not a soul in sight. Tears form in her eyes as she remembers all the credit in her new phone that she wasted on all those stupid and unnecessary texts. Trying not to panic, she scans and peers at the street ahead as hard as she canÃ¢ÂÂ¦ "Where are all the bloody payphones when you need them?"Add the location of a rural area and bad weather to this scenario and it only makes it rueful. The range in remote areas for mobile phones is minimal and rain and wind definitely don't help. But what use is a good range when the mobile itself is out of battery, or worse, is lost. I mean, imagine being completely dependent on this little piece of technology which could abandon you at the slightest carelessnessÃ¢ÂÂ¦Forgive my imagination. Surely the situation wouldn't be as bad in real life.
But, telecom giant Telstra's decision to reduce the number of public phones still comes as shock. Even more pitiful is the fact that all this is being done for purely money-spinning reasons, without care or consideration of the basic needs of society.
The 'American recruit' Sol Trujillo, CEO of Telstra, announced the decision of disconnecting atleast 5000 pay phones from Melbourne train stations and surrounding suburbs. They say that it is based on commercial reality, as maintaining public phones no one uses has becoming increasingly difficult. So, following (as usual) the American payphone-ditching idea, the company has decided to scrap them, as these unprofitable devices are setting them back by about $130,000 a year, which ironically, not to mention gallingly, is roughly the same as Sol takes home in a fortnight.
Accusations are flying around everywhere and fingers are...