Are payphones coming back?
Someone actually landed on The Payphone Project web site after typing this question into a search engine.
It is hard to imagine the technological apocalypse that would have to occur before traditional coin-fed public telephones return to mainstream relevance. Payphones may never “come back” but they remain valuable resources for travelers, people of low income, and anyone who has no cell phone of their own. Cell phones are easily lost and frequently out of range for making calls, making public phones especially valuable in rural areas where cell phone signal is often weak or nonexistent. Some states have taken measures to make sure public phones remain on state property, this with no regard to profitability but as a public utility.
Payphones get occasional spurts of media attention following large scale disasters such as super storm Sandy, the east coast blackout of 2003, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The danger to public safety in such circumstances could greatly increase as public telephones continue to be routed for their lack of ability to turn a profit.