Futel is a free telephone company and 501(c)(3) organization. We offer domestic calls, messaging, human interaction, connections to services, and interactive audio art. All services are free of charge. Some features are accessed from free payphones which we install in public places, and some are accessed from an incoming phone number.
Futel is a cross between a public service and a city-spanning art installation. We are inspired by public kiosks, shared experiences, the re-use of discarded technology, and unconventional interactions hidden behind ordinary exteriors. While Futel will always provide a straightforward and easily usable service, we also appreciate how art is formed by constraints, by roundabout paths or unexpected juxtapositions.
We currently have three public phones, the first of which was installed in 2014. Our phones are armored, weatherproof, and low-maintenance, they just need internet access and a solid place to attach them. We also provide free telephone service to Right To Dream Too, a rest area, shelter, and houseless advocacy organization in downtown Portland.
By the end of 2016, over 750 free outgoing calls were initiated per month from Futel phones, and over 50 interactive operator calls were logged throughout the year.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (June 2017)