Telstra’s proposed upgrade of nearly 150 payphones across Adelaide will require council approval if they are to receive the intended advertising.
The upgrades come as part of a national program in conjunction with JCDecaux, and would include WiFi-accessibility, USB charge docks and mobile integration hubs.
Though the structural changes do not require approval, the process may be stalled by Telstra’s desire to display third-party advertising.
A council spokesperson told ABC: “No application fee is required to replace an existing structure if it includes Telstra advertising only.
“However, if third-party advertising is proposed, a development application and a permit is required.
“Council has concerns in relation to the placement, scale and visual impacts of smart hubs within the CBD and North Adelaide.”
Telstra’s OOH strategies have previously come under fire interstate, accused of “masquerading” advertising billboards as payphones.
In September, Telstra took advantage of a legal loophole to install 80 JCDecaux digital boards across Melbourne — each board estimated to be taking in upwards of $8000 per week.
Of the backlash in Melbourne, Telstra provided a statement to B&T, saying: “Telstra is upgrading about 1800 payphones across all Australian capital cities.
“We are working closely with all local and city councils to identify and agree suitable locations where the upgraded payphones will deliver the greatest benefits to the communities they serve”.
Telco infrastructure does not require approval under the Federal Telecommunications 1997 if it is deemed to be “low impact”, however the telecommunications (low-impact facilities) determination 2018 states that public payphone cabinets and instruments only qualify as low impact if they are: “not used to display commercial advertising other than advertising related to the supply of standard telephone service”.
The nationwide rollout landed in Perth in November 2017, but has also been met with opposition from Sydney City Council, too.