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Telstra Country Wide area general manager Larissa Redford shows off the Wi-Fi hotspot
on her smartphone at Alinga Street.
Photo: Mark Sawa
Payphones add value
for smart comms age
Despite averaging just five phone calls a day,
there are no plans to tear public payphones out
of the ground anytime soon.
Instead Telstra, which is required by
government to keep payphones operational, is
adding value to the services.
The telco has flicked the switch on two public
payphones in Civic which are now Wi-Fi
hotspots with a 50 metre range.
The free trial overlaps with the existing free
ACT government Wi-Fi network, which is
already active in the Canberra CBD.
The move is part of a five-year $100 million
strategy to create more than 1000 hotspots
across the country before Christmas.
Over the next few weeks, Telstra will activate
nine hotspots across Canberra and Queanbeyan.
This trial will remain free until the official
launch of a national network in early 2015.
Telstra Country Wide area general manager
Larissa Redford said the Canberra trial was the
start of an ambitious nationwide plan.
"We are turning on two hotspots in the
Canberra CBD and people will be able to access
them, she said. "They are just the start of the
Other hotspots in Canberra include Dickson,
Phillip, Kingston, Griffith and two Queanbeyan
The move to add an internet hotspot to
payphones comes after decades of decline for
the service as people took up mobile phone
technology. There are 141 Telstra operated
payphones in Canberra and 14 in Queanbeyan.
A Telstra spokesman said there was no
demand to remove payphones from Canberra,
which indicated strong community support to
retain the facilities.
Telstra continues to supply and maintain
public payphones as part of its obligations to the
government, he said.
Meanwhile the $3.1 million ACT government
network -- provided by iiNet -- will enable
Canberrans to download 100 megabytes of data
a day via 745 access points across Canberra.
The first points of the network were turned on
at Garema Place last month.
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Famous fossil slab heralds rock garden
The National Rock Garden launched its
masterplan on Monday to coincide with the
arrival of a spectacular fossil fish slab.
The 3-metre long slab of rock is on
permanent loan from the Age of Fishes Museum
in Canowindra, near Cowra in NSW.
The rock, which contains hundreds of fossil
fish, has been delivered to Questacon, where it
has been cleaned and mounted for display.
A video of Sir David Attenborough talking
about the significance of the slab was played at
the launch at Questacon.
When constructed, the National Rock Garden
will be a significant educational facility for
Australian science teachers and a major tourist
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 6
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