Once Upon A Payphone

Think about it. When was the last time you physically saw a phone booth, let alone used it?

At one point, it is said payphones numbered over 2 million in the United States in the mid-1990s. Since the turn of the new millennium, with the rise of smartphones and Wi-Fi, payphones have mostly disappeared and become artifacts we can tell stories of to our grandchildren.

What happens to those that still remain? In March, New York City started replacing current payphone kiosks with Wi-Fi hotspots, a daring effort known as LinkNYC, which could be replicated by other U.S. cities. The push for public Wi-Fi has been going on for a while but efforts have not always been met with success. So, is this still a step in the right direction? Early work has already been met with neighborhood criticism due to increased encampments in kiosk areas by the city’s homeless and others exhibiting criminal behaviors

Although HDT would support this type of effort all day, it’s hard to say if a plan like this could find traction in Hawai’i, seeing as homelessness is already a major concern for the city and county of Honolulu. Unfortunately, as Hawai’i slowly becomes an urbanized paradise, it is more apparent that it could be many years before we see an infrastructure transformation like this bring Hawai’i further into the 21st century.

Only time will tell.

Until next time…

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