LinkNYC-CityBridge-NYC-Payphones-Smart Screens-001

When was the last time you used a pay phone? Pay phones have gone the way of AOL and the VCR, another relic of the past that we just don’t use anymore. It could do with the fact that everyone now has a smartphone (and not change) in their pockets; we have talked about the very small number of vintage phone booths that still remain here in New York City, however, we just have to face facts that NYC has no use for the ol’ quarter-suckers anymore.

So what to do with all those old pay phone booths? To confront this issue, NYC is willing to partake in one of the biggest technological experiments in the city’s history. According to an article in the Washington Post, the project, LinkNYC, a joint project by City Bridge–”a New York City–based consortium of leading experts in technology, advertising, connectivity and user experience”–and the city, are proposing that NYC becomes the first major city to have a high speed W-Fi network spread throughout the entire city. 

LinkNYC-Untapped Cities-NYC-Phone Booths-Wifi.pdf - Adobe Reader 11172014 72236 PM

These consoles (called “Links”) will be placed in all boroughs and give New Yorker’s not only high speed Wi-Fi 24/7, but allow users to make free phone calls throughout the United States, a touchscreen tablet for directions, a place to charge your phone (finally!) and will cost you absolutely nothing. The proposal for this project states that the Links will be paid for “through advertising revenues” and will actually bring money into the city in the sum of half a billion dollars over the course of 12 years.

LinkNYC-Untapped Cities-NYC-Phone Booths-Wifi.pdf - Adobe Reader 11172014 74309 PM

There seems to be no catch, or “too good to be true” aspect that we can find. Goodbye ugly pay phones we do not use anymore, hello sexy new consoles that let us make phone calls and charge our phones for free. Except that we’ll have screens in our homes, on the subway, at work, and now, on our side streets. Nonetheless, sign us up!

All image renderings via LinkNYC

To hold him a spot on the line to charge his phone (it dies a lot), contact the author @ChrisLInoa