Hanging Up on Payphones

Long a staple of the New York streetscape, public payphones will likely soon be replaced by as many as 10,000 futuristic-looking communications kiosks. In a Request for Proposals issued Thursday, the city spelled out the its requirements for the payphone’s replacement.

These kiosks will be required to provide a free wireless internet signal, strong enough to carry 85 feet in all directions. They'll also provide ordinary phone and 911 service.

The current contract for payphones expires in October. The city aims to pick a replacement proposal by the end of the year.

Once the kiosks are installed, the city expects to earn more than $17 million dollars a year from the contract.

This initiative began with the Bloomberg administration. But it's been embraced by Mayor Bill de Blasio as part of his effort to spread access to high speed internet.