New York City’s
payphones are getting a fresh coat of paint and some new tech for the 21st century. A pilot program to transform the booths into smart-screens is underway and the plan is to rebuild 250 of them, in all five boroughs.
The new kiosks feature 32-inch touch-screens, powered by Cisco and City 24/7. Needless to say, the screens offer internet access and allow people to get information on restaurants, stores, traffic updates and tourist attractions.
Sharing smudge-loving touchscreens with millions of denizens doesn’t sound like a very sanitary thing to do, but the new screens will be waterproof and able to be cleaned with a jet hose. City 24/7 claims they will be more sanitary then ATMs, and they have been for years, with no black plague outbreaks.
The pilot project should be complete in early 2013 and the goal is to replace all of NYC’s 12,800 payphones sometime in the future. However, this is not the only program to upgrade the city’s payphones. Back in July the city announced plans to turn a number of booths into WiFi hotspots
, which sounds like a much cheaper idea.