PhilTel: a free-to-use payphone network in Philadelphia #Community

PhilTel is looking to install new (to us) payphones within the city of Philadelphia. Any payphone installed will be completely free-to-use, allowing the user to place calls within North America. Additionally, we would like to provide various experiences and services through the phones; these could be as simple as voicemail, fun as a phone number that randomly calls other payphones, or as complex as an integration with phone collectors’ networks to allow phone-phreaking and exploration!


PhilTel is actively looking for volunteers to help with both technical and outreach tasks. We are a completely volunteer-run collective operating in the Philadelphia area, and we need help to grow and evolve our network!

We’ve outlined some skills we are looking for below. This is by no means a complete list! We’re constantly learning new things and discovering new needs as we grow.

Tech Team

We are always look for technology-minded individuals to help us grow the payphone network and install/repair existing hardware. Even if you don’t have much direct experience with the technologies we are working with, we are happy to help get you up to speed! While we are hoping to have people who can physically attend meetups, workshops, and installations, there is also the possibility for remote work.

Here are some skills we are currently looking for:

  • Experience with router firmware installation/config (OpenWRT, ddwrt, Tomato, etc.)
  • Experience with metrics/monitoring (syslog, Prometheus, Grafana, etc.)
  • Experience with VoIP, including SIP, ATA configuration, Asterisk
  • Terminating ethernet or telephone cabling
  • Payphone troubleshooting, repair, installation skills
  • Telephone (land line) wiring and installation skills
  • Basic/Advanced electrical skills (basic maintenance/troubleshooting, routing wires/circuits in-wall, bending/installing conduit)
  • Building small-scale solar power systems
  • Drilling into brick/mortar, using concrete anchors to mount equipment on masonry
  • Running Internet/telephone cabling from home exterior to interior
  • Experience with anchoring items to sidewalk, laying concrete, etc.
  • Electronics prototyping, including soldering, breadboarding, work with microcontrollers
  • Web development
  • Visual Design (web & print)
  • Data Visualization/Mapping
  • Data Science / Data Analysis

If you are interested in getting involved with PhilTel, please fill out our Volunteer Sign-up Form!

Our Code of Conduct is available here.

Read more here.

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here:

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community!

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers –

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.