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Chicago mayor targets affordable gigabit broadband, free WiFi throughout city parks Chicago mayor targets affordable gigabit broadband, free WiFi throughout city parks
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Chicago mayor targets affordable gigabit broadband, free WiFi throughout city parks
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Old 26th September 2012, 08:26   #1
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Default Chicago mayor targets affordable gigabit broadband, free WiFi throughout city parks

If Rahm Emanuel has his way, then Chicago's broadband access may very well give Kansas City a run for its money. The mayor of the Windy City has now revealed a rather ambitious initiative that would (ideally) overhaul the city's broadband infrastructure and provide affordable, gigabit-class fiber internet to areas that primarily serve industry, higher education and entrepreneurial startups. The idea came to Emanuel through Eric Schmidt, who suggested the upgrade be coordinated alongside the city's overhaul of its aging water / sewer system. Before any of this can happen, however, Chicago must first secure commitments from companies that would be willing to install and pay for the new upgrades. As a potential incentive, it's been suggested by Crain's Chicago Business that the city may offer some of its own unused fiber resources on a favorable lease.

In addition to the hopes for ultra-fast broadband, Emanuel's project, dubbed the Chicago Broadband Challenge, also seeks to extend low-cost, high-speed internet to underserved areas of the city and to bring free WiFi access to all public spaces such as parks and plazas. Although mostly a token gesture, mayor Emanuel announced the immediate availability of free WiFi in Chicago's Millennium Park. The city is currently soliciting plans and proposals of how to approach the ambitious project, and you're invited to become a bit more familiar with these grand ambitions with the PR and source links below.
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