Territory Stories

The community phone project : an overview



The community phone project : an overview

Other title

Andrew Crouch


Crouch, Andrew


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; DKCRC Working Paper 46




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).



Table of contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Context -- 3. The Community Phone Project: a brief history -- 4. Characteristics of the Community Phone service model -- 5. Supply and demand: how good is the balance? -- 6. Project governance arrangements -- 7. Future directions -- 8. Summary and conclusions -- 9. Is this a desert service that works? -- 10. References.




Telephone -- Northern Territory

Publisher name

Desert Knowledge CRC

Place of publication

Alice Springs


DKCRC Working Paper 46


v, 32 p. : col. ill., col. maps ; 30 cm.

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Page content

Desert Knowledge CRC Working Paper 46: Andrew Crouch 7. Future directions The former Commonwealth Government announced in 2007 that, following the extended trial, funding would be provided under its Backing Indigenous Ability (BIA) program for a substantial further group of around 300 Community Phones. In this next round, the communities selected would include communities without existing network infrastructure, and only those with less than 50 permanent residents would be eligible. This latter distinction would allow the new Community Phones to focus the funding on the segment that is most under-served; that is, small outstation communities not covered by the USO payphone eligibility criteria. The current Commonwealth Government has endorsed this approach, and rollout under the revised Indigenous Communications Program phones contract is expected to take place over the 200911 period. When completed, this round will bring the total number of installed Community Phones to around 540, which represents about 77% of the total market requirement of 700 for Community Phones estimated by ACMA in 2004 (Australian Communications Authority 2004).3 The selection process announced by the government is technology neutral, so it may give rise to a mix of both terrestrial and satellite and cable-borne or wireless technologies. While this may complicate the provision of maintenance for what is in reality a relatively small population of devices, it is offset by the ability to minimise provisioning costs and lead times. Ultimately, the acceptability and reliability of the service, as well its overall lifecycle cost, should be the determining factors. 3 This figure is broadly corroborated by later ABS data which indicates that 454 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities do not have access to a public phone (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008). The Community Phone Project: An overview Desert Knowledge CRC 25