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Telstra to face Australian federal court over digital advertising screens on payphones

The phone booths are a joint venture between Telstra and JCDecaux. / JCDecaux

Telstra, Australia’s biggest telecommunications company and one of its biggest advertisers, is to appear in Federal Court as it fights with local councils over digital screens on payphone booths.

The court will be asked to determine whether the 75-inch digital screens, which will be placed on the back of its new payphone booths are considered “low impact”.

Telstra is permitted to install low impact equipment without planning approval, however, local councils in Melbourne and Sydney believe the screens, which will be managed by outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux, are subject to council regulations.

The payphone booths are part of a joint venture between Telstra and JCDecaux, which aims to upgrade 1,800 phone booths across Australia to include wifi, USB charging docks and Telstra touch screens, along with the 75-inch digital screens for advertising.

The court is yet to schedule a hearing date.

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