Pay Phones

Since 1995, DoITT has regulated public pay telephones (PPTs) installed on the City's public sidewalks. As of March 2015, there were 8,178 active public pay telephones on the City's sidewalks, regulated by DoITT. While usage has decreased significantly, PPTs are still used for regular and long distance calls, and also provide free access to 911 and 311.

Pay Phone Legacy and Transformation

DoITT began piloting payphone WiFi during the summer of 2012, which expanded to more than 25 locations across the five boroughs. Announcement of this pilot program was coupled with the release of the “Future of the Payphone” Request for Information, or RFI.

Then, in 2013, the City held the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge to engage urban designers, planners, and technologists to create innovative prototypes to modernize these structures. The Challenge elicited more than 125 submissions from across the county.
 
The idea throughout this process was to garner broad-based feedback and use it to a formal solicitation, or Request for Proposals (RFP). The RFP for “Public Communications Structures,” was released in April 2014 and called for, at minimum, proposals including free calling to 311, 911 and free 24x7 public WiFi.

The City received a number of innovative proposals to the RFP, and on November 17, 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced the winning proposal from the CityBridge consortium to construct and maintain the “LinkNYC” network.

Beginning in 2016, all remaining PPTs will be replaced with LinkNYC kiosks, which will provide free high-speed WiFi, domestic calling, mobile device, 911 and 311 access, and a host of other amenities. Read more about LinkNYC

Until they are replaced, all PPTs are required to be cleaned twice per week and kept in good working order. To file a complaint regarding a public pay phone, you can fill out an online form.