I can't do it: too many memories! But what do the 2000 know? Those of us who have searched in our pockets for a token (or a telephone card) to call parents, friends and partners know this well. Many of us grew up with it, but payphones have been removed practically everywhere, and for years.
It seemed like there was no need anymore, as most people have a phone in their pocket (or hand). Now, an American collective called PhilTel is trying to bring back the vibe (with a modern twist) by installing payphones, and toll free, throughout the city of Philadelphia.
Because? Does this make sense?
Although it may seem absurd to some of you, not everyone has or wants a smartphone. For some people, staying connected can be too much: for others, it is financially impossible (even at current costs) to own a mobile phone.
Yes sirs. They are simply out of reach for many homeless people, and even for some with income. PhilTel's goal is to help bridge this gap by making it accessible to all phones again, to make free calls anywhere in the US.
Public phones 2.0
If for an average user having a network of public telephones again will come in handy in the event of an emergency or a flat battery, for many people it will be an important novelty.
PhilTel co-founder, Mike Dank, is sure:
Citizens who relied on payphones were increasingly marginalized, and many were left without the communication platform they need to get on with their lives.
It's not the first time, but it could be the right one
There is already a company, FuTel, which installed public telephones in the midst of the smartphone era: it did so in the city of Portland, Oregon, and PhilTel was probably inspired by this solution.
The ones they are installing in Philadelphia are not new, however, but "recycled" from the old models (with the addition of VoIP).
December 17 will be the day of the first installation, which will be followed by many others throughout the city.
The return of public telephones: yes or no?
Let's be clear: I find it a wonderful, almost poetic solution for those who need access to public telephones for daily life. As an advertiser, I also see its potential: apart from the possibility of exploiting booths / installations as billboard spaces, free phone calls could be guaranteed with audio commercials to listen to before calling.
But I wonder if it will work, if it will have a sequel: after all they are no longer "real" public telephones. They are private freephones, and they have to be sustainable to last.
This small detail is not negligible. What do you think?