The CAT Community Access Phone
Community Access Telephones evolved when people experiencing humbug when a phone was placed inside their house, asked for the phone to be mounted outside.
CAT designed the prototype which was dubbed the Ned phone because of its metallic robustness and resemblance to Ned Kelly’s armour. Subsequently CAT participated in a project together with Telstra, the Commonwealth Government and other community organisations which has resulted in over 250 phones being installed in communities throughout northern Australia, particularly in the Kimberley, Central Australia and the Top End of the Northern Territory.
The phone design has been refined over time, but has consistently been based on a standard domestic phone instrument, thus simplifying the spare parts and repair logistics. Pre-paid cards rather than coins are used to pay for phone calls, to eliminate the need for a coin box and frequent emptying. The community phones continue to be maintained by CAT staff.