Monday, March 14, 2016

An idea whose time has come?

From Crains:

Virtually every New Yorker over the age of 12 has a cellphone, and the call boxes are no longer a part of the public consciousness. It would not even occur to most people to seek one out in case of an emergency. The 15,000 boxes cost taxpayers more than $6 million a year, and 85% of calls from them are false alarms.

But we cannot rely on common sense to prevail. Ripping out the call boxes and leaving nothing in their place would risk the same hysterical reaction that defeated the plan in 1996 and again in 2011, when a deaf-rights group stopped the Bloomberg administration's attempt. The city would have to offer New Yorkers something better in their place.

Fortunately, it can. The de Blasio administration is in the process of replacing its virtually obsolete pay phones with 7,500 free Wi-Fi hot spots. Anyone will be able to use the new kiosks, called Links, to surf the Web on a provided tablet or their own smartphones, make free domestic phone calls, charge their devices and—yes—call 911. Not only will the project cost taxpayers nothing, but thanks to the advertising space that the city's private partner will sell, the city will reap more than $500 million over 12 years.


Anonymous said...

Publish the numbers with detailed accounting.
$6M a year sounds excessive and pulled out of thin air.
If and when there is a power outage one cannot rely on cellphones.
Or FiOS, or Cable.

Anonymous said...

These kiosks will become hotspots for crime. Just wait and see.

Anonymous said...

The new phones/wifi/911 stations are a great idea, but what is going to stop the savages from destroying them?

The call boxes as they are now are cast iron, have very few (and basic) internal components, and can take a beating.

Too bad so many of the people in this city belong in a zoo instead of wandering the streets. Its why we can never have nice things.

(sarc) said...

Capitalism at its best!

But will it cover all the raises the City Council is planning???

Anonymous said...

"The de Blasio administration is in the process of replacing its virtually obsolete pay phones with 7,500 free Wi-Fi hot spots....". Let's be precise-- no one is "replacing" the crappy, unused-- except by homeless-- phone booths. The wi-fi towers are going in, at the other end of the block. The filthy unused phone booths still remain. The sidewalks are filling up with more and more crap, every year.

Anonymous said...

This sounds almost too good to be true. Free phone calls?

Anonymous said...

Okay, remove all of them and then when some illegal SRO building in Brooklyn, Bronx or Queens goes ablaze and a dozen or so die because all the illegal aliens living there are afraid to call 911, you and I will pay for the damages and multi-million dollar law suits that the shyster ambulance chasers will file against the city.

Six million a year ain't shit when you consider the possible monetary consequences of shutting the alarms off.

Anonymous said...

The call boxes still serve a needed function.

Although empirically it looks as though cell phones are everywhere, in reality not everyone has or can use them. And, of course, no one can use their phones if the cell towers go down or the landlines fail. This is what happened during 9/11. That day, many cells phones and landlines became useless but the autonomously power generated red fire call boxes worked and were a first line of communication. Also, if they're painted red and maintained they’re really quite beautiful.

The call boxes are worth keeping.

JQ LLC said...

There should always be other alternatives for emergencies. Cellphones and apps are not infallible. The boxes should remain. Besides, I think the reason they want to get rid of them is because it is a part of NYC history, which they are trying to erase.

And these wifi stations will be abused by low life tech thieves, vandals and most likely abusive cops.

Anonymous said...

Great wayvto have your identity stolen!

Anonymous said...

"Great wayvto have your identity stolen!"

This commenter has raised an excellent point: most public wifi hotspots are NOT cyber secure.

At an unsecure hotspot an interested party (in this case a cyber criminal) can hack into your device, install malware that monitors everything you text/type/send/receive, etc. and essentially get access to all of your data (your name, passwords, credit card number, etc.).

They can even install ransomware, which will encrypt your data or essentially lock your device until your agree to pay a fee - via credit card.

This is serious stuff - you really don't want to mess around with unsecure networks.

Anonymous said...

That's why you secure your computer. You can't trust outside protections.