Chicago may end up succeeding where so many other cities have failed with its plan to build a municipal broadband network, says CED Magazine.
The city is likely to formally advertise for bidders sometime soon, reports Chicago Business. But, according to a spokesman, it’s also keeping other options open, such as forming a team to review various proposals and come up with a favorite.
The city kicked off its “Chicago Broadband Challenge” by turning on free Wi-Fi in Millennium Park this September. As part of the initiative the Broadband Challenge, all parks and open spaces in Chicago will eventually offer free internet (pdf).
“Chicago will be one of the most connected cities in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The establishment of a world-class broadband network in Chicago will create thousands of jobs and dramatically improve educational opportunities, economic development, health care services, and general quality of life throughout the city.”
Some 24 companies filed responses to the RFI by last week’s deadline although the city is not releasing details of the proposals yet. RFI responders reportedly included:
- Alcatel – Lucent
- AT& T
- Axia Networks USA
- Business Only Broadband
- Cable Runner
- Charge Station
- Chicago Computer Society
- Cisco Systems
- Dell Marketing
- Everywhere Wireless
- Gigabit Squared
- Global Services International
- Jaroth DBA Pacific Telemanagement Service
- Level 3
- Motorola Solutions
- Networks Of Woodlawn
- NIU Broadband Development Group
- Officemax, Sander & Associates
- i3 America, Scott Bradshaw
Chicago is offering use of existing network assets and access to city-owned vias, which would make deployment easier and potentially far less expensive. The city does not yet have a set schedule, but it wants the network build to begin next year.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Street light Provides Wi-Fi, Cell Coverage, Hotspot 2.0, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud, Clearwire: On the Hot Zone, Sprint to use LightRadio for Small Cells, LTE iPhone: Game Changer?, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World