The city’s Dept. of Information Technology and Telecommunication sent out an RFP in July asking respondents to re-imagine the future of the NY payphones.
According to Crain’s New York Business, future pay phones are solar-powered kiosks that allow customers to charge their phones. Touch screens display maps, ads and public service announcements. Free Internet calls, subsidized by sponsors, would relieve overloaded wireless carriers. While phones could still make old-fashioned land line calls via copper wires, free calls make costly coin collections unnecessary.
Sleek panels might be aesthetic, but Mark Johnston, of outdoor-ad firm Van Wagner Communications told Crain’s that it lacks valuable advertising space, saying, “The question is how these decisions get balanced.”