This paper outlines the development and implementation of the Community Phone as an alternative public telephone for remote settlements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the broader context of telecommunications services in remote Australia.
The characteristics of the Community Phone service are described in terms of a generalised service model.
Supply and demand drivers for the service are discussed, with particular emphasis on its effectiveness as a publicly funded and managed service provided in response to the requirements of the remote settlements.
Finally, the paper reflects on how the success of the Community Phone Project experience might inform some aspects of the research being conducted by the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre (DKCRC) in Core Project 5 ‘Desert Services that Work’. This core project addresses five questions about the demand and supply of services to Aboriginal communities in remote desert areas, with a focus on demand responsiveness as a criterion for improving services. Although the Community Phone Project does not reflect a demand-responsive approach, it nonetheless provides some valuable insights into elements of successful service delivery.