NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s out with the old and in with the kiosks! Payphones are about to officially become a thing of the past in all five boroughs.
On Thursday, the city rolled out the first of the replacements. The new kiosks allow New Yorkers to not only make a phone call, but use Wi-Fi, USB charging ports, tablets for web browsing and emergency services.READ MORE: Police: Gabriel Dewitt Wilson In Custody After Deadly Shooting At West Hempstead Stop & Shop
“With this effort, we’re moving much closer to becoming the most innovative most accessible tech friendly city in the nation and anywhere in the world,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, as reported by CBS2’s Alice Gainer.
The city officially launched LinkNYC Thursday, with about a dozen kiosks along Third Avenue. When the project is completely at least 7,500 will be installed in all five boroughs.
“You won’t need to insert a quarter or any kind of money whatsoever,” de Blasio said of the free kiosks.
New Yorkers CBS2 spoke to had mixed opinions about making use of the kiosks.
“My phone just died, so it’d probably be a good thing,” Phil Malvone, of Manhattan, told CBS2.READ MORE: 'Today's Verdict Is Not The End': Tri-State Area Officials React To Derek Chauvin's Conviction In George Floyd's Death
“Yeah I think I would use that, definitely,” Ear Smith, of Manhattan, said.
Others say they’d likely only turn to the kiosks in the case of an emergency. The city said access to the Internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
“This is another way to put tools into people’s hands who cant afford those tools otherwise,” de Blasio added.
Still, some have concerns over how secure the Wi-Fi is.
“We do offer an encrypted connection which is incredibly secure the latest generation of phones IOS 7 and up will be able to use this encrypted network,” Collin O’Donnell, chief innovation officer of CityBridge, told CBS2.
Officials said the network is the most secure public Wi-Fi and has the latest technology to prevent hacking.MORE NEWS: Derek Chauvin Guilty On All 3 Counts In George Floyd’s Death
As for upkeep of the kiosks, maintenance will be performed twice a week to help prevent them from going the graffiti-ridden defaced way of the payphone.