Phonebooth Revival

#Telephone

Thu, Aug 7th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Quartz, with the contract for New York City's 9,000 remaining public payphones to run out on October 15th, the "city will soon reveal who has bid for the next generation of public payphones and what their proposals are." Reportedly, Google is "rumored to be among the bidders to turn the phone booths into something more than Wi-Fi hotspots."

The city is inspired by the High Line, the derelict freight-railroad line in New York’s Meatpacking District that is now a beautiful public park. “Personally, the High Line is one of my favorite things in the world,” Nicholas Sbordone, a spokesman for New York’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, told Fast Company. “It was able to be reinvented and reused and now everyone loves it. I’d love for something similar to happen with payphones in this city.”

The DoITT already ran a test program in 2012 to provide free Wi-Fi from some payphone booths—which was very popular. Free Wi-Fi and free calls to 911 and 311—the emergency and information numbers, respectively—will definitely be part of the next wave of public-phone booths. But the request for information from the DoITT asks the companies to answer several questions on the future of public-phone booths, including whether payphones should even remain part of the service.

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