On May 23, the last public payphone in New York City was removed from its spot on 7th avenue. Payphones have steadily disappeared from New York City’s streets since 2014, when former Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration began replacing the phones with LinkNYC technology.
Powered by CityBridge, LinkNYC’s billboard-like kiosks offer services such as free phone calls, device charging and high speed internet. Later this year, LinkNYC is expected to begin offering 5G coverage for New York City streets as well.
These LinkNYC kiosks have become a familiar part of the city, displaying art and public service announcements for New Yorkers in addition to providing other offerings. Since the start of its implementation, the LinkNYC technology has hosted over three billion WiFi sessions and provided service to its more than 10 million subscribers.
Matthew Fraser, commissioner of the Office of Technology and Innovation, said in a recent statement that the removal of the city’s last payphone exemplifies the evolution of technology in New York.
“Just like we transitioned from the horse and buggy to the automobile and from the automobile to the airplane, the digital evolution has progressed from pay phones to high-speed Wi-Fi kiosks to meet the demands of our rapidly changing daily communications needs,” said Fraser.
The last payphone will be relocated to the Museum of the city of New York to join the museums ‘Analog City’ exhibit. The exhibition showcases aspects of New York City prior to the rise of computers.