Free payphones have become a lifeline for Australians in need

I know that for the vast majority of you all, the use of a payphone is the last thing on your mind but were you aware that you can make FREE, all local and national calls to standard fixed line numbers and calls to standard Australian mobiles on our public payphones free and followed this with free Wi-Fi across select enabled payphones.

This means any Australian can now use all the 15,000 TELSTRA payphones on street corners and in the tiny towns, truck stops and airports in every corner of the country to make calls for free.

Payphones becoming free has given people access to services that they’re in desperate need of, with a lot of people able to connect with housing and support services. It’s fantastic that they can just go straight to a payphone and they know they don’t need coins, they don’t need money, they can just jump on the phone and get support.

 

Payphones are also a wonderful way of people connecting and a lot of people right across the nation are suffering not just from poverty but also social poverty . They don’t have access to family and friends so payphones are a great way of connecting them with people who care.

There’s been a 15% increase in the number of people accessing the Salvo helplines through payphones so this initiative is really important because it says to people that help is there, but more than that help the ability to connect with that help is also there. That’s something that’s been missing in the past and payphones have fixed that problem which makes such a difference.

Did you also know Payphone usage is skyrocketing with nearly two million free calls being made every month?

Since mobiles became nearly universal, a lot of Australians might not give them much thought. Until there’s a natural disaster. Until you’re in vulnerable circumstances, homeless or fleeing domestic violence. Two years ago, TELSTRA made all local and national calls to standard fixed line numbers and calls to standard Australian mobiles on our public payphones free and followed this with free Wi-Fi across select enabled payphones.

Fast forward 24 months, and Australia’s payphones have become an essential lifeline for those in need.

Since the introduction of free calls, there have been a staggering over 40 million calls made, seeing demand more than double.

Across critical helplines is where we’ve seen some of the sharpest rises in calls, with key increases over the past 12-months including:

That’s an increase of 30% for calls to Lifeline on the previous year; 28% increase for Headspace; 30% for Centrelink, and 15% for the emergency services.

The growing importance that payphones play within key community and regional groups is also reflected in the locations of the most used payphones.

For example:

  • Australia’s most used free payphone is located at the Sacred Heart Mission in Melbourne’s CBD. It provides crucial support to people experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and other challenges. Nearly 3,000 free calls are made every month, averaging one call every 14-minutes.
  • The next five most used payphones are in the Northern Territory and are predominantly used by regional and First Nations communities, providing a vital link for many who may not have other ways to stay connected.

 

Payphones are more than just a way to make a call. For Australians experiencing vulnerable circumstances, they are a lifeline. They provide a link to critical services, as well as essential connections with family and friends. Telstra are seeing the importance of payphones grow more and more each year.

In addition to free payphone calls and texts, TELSTRA now also have 3,300 payphones with free Wi-Fi access and are in works to make this service available across even more payphones.

Payphones becoming free has given people access to services that they’re in desperate need of, with a lot of people able to connect with housing and support services. It’s fantastic that they can just go straight to a payphone and they know they don’t need coins, they don’t need money, they can just jump on the phone and get support.

 

Payphones are also a wonderful way of people connecting and a lot of people we work with right across the nation are suffering not just from poverty but also social poverty . They don’t have access to family and friends so payphones are a great way of connecting them with people who care.

 

There’s been a 15% increase in the number of people accessing the Salvo helplines through payphones so this initiative is really important because it says to people that help is there, but more than that help the ability to connect with that help is also there. That’s something that’s been missing in the past and payphones have fixed that problem which makes such a difference to the people.