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NYC Phone Booths Get Smart

A pilot program started by the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications will transform anachronistic phone booths into kiosks where residents and visitors alike can freely access a plethora of information. This includes lists of neighborhood restaurants, sales at local stores, traffic information, and – for locals -- the ability to file complains or get information from municipal offices. City24/7 is providing the 32-inch touch screens, which will be placed in 250 high-traffic pedestrian areas across the five boroughs. The telephones will not be replaced, but placed in locations with at least two phones. The city has more than 12,000 pay phones.  A preliminary test of the system was conducted at locations including Citi Field and the New York University dormitories. Internet access will not be offered. Eventually, the kiosks will reportedly let users make Skype calls, serve as Wi-Fi hotspots, and access e-mail. According to PC Mag “the company that will install and maintain the smart screens, said they are designed to be cleaned with a jet hose, and promised they'll be more sanitary than an ATM.” (PCMag)(The New York Times)(The Village Voice)

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