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1Mbps Wireless Chicago
City issues RFP, aims to bridge digital divide
by Karl Bode 11:13AM Saturday Jun 03 2006
The city of Chicago this week issued a RFP, seeking private-sector partners to provide Internet access throughout the city, including free wireless service in schools, parks and major public places. "We're fortunate that the United States has some of the most advanced computer technology in the world. The problem is, not everyone has access to it," says Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley. The full pdf is here, and makes clear the winning bidder will need to offer the whole city 1Mbps access, as well as computers and training for the less affluent; as we saw in Philadelphia.

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Tavistock NJ

Will be few, if any, bidders under Mayor's rules

Daley has put too many restrictions on the RFP. I doubt he will get few legitimate bids if there is nothing in it for the bidders. Even those firms, like Google, that may want to risk it based on advertising revenues may be scared off by the size of the area to be covered and the many guaranteed free only locations demanded. And also the demand for free computers and hand outs to the poor. Maybe he is hoping for a poor response so that he can then try to get passed a taxpayer supported plan.
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Poorly Representing MYSELF.

Re: Will be few, if any, bidders under Mayor's rules

I would look for the incumbent to put in a bid.
Lake Forest, IL

Re: Will be few, if any, bidders under Mayor's rules

Does his brother still work for SBC/at&t?

I guess with all the scandal going on here I am a bit sceptical. I potentially see a friend of the politicos in Chicago getting the contract, and afterwards, getting additional "fees" with a contract adjustment from the city.


I would look for the incumbent to put in a bid.
Yah, I hope SBC is awarded the contract so we don't have to worry about fraudulent misuse of funds.

Chicago, IL
Actually I would expect RCN to put in a bid. RCN is already providing fiber optic communications for the city's network of security cameras. They made a deal to provide that service to get out of some heavy fines for 'redlining.' Da Mayor may twist their arm into providing another freebe.


New York, NY

1 edit
TKJUNKMAIL.............Why I expected anything different I don't know.. The mayor is doing his job, trying to lift the social and economic conditions of all his citizens by trying to make a deal with someone or some corporation to give them the city franchise, make it cheap for them to do so in regards to fees imposed by the city but in return they have to wire the whole city including poor areas..... Amazing how you turn this into some anti American socialist thing which it isn't. This is his proposal which will be debated. He won't get all he wants and everyone knows it. You are amazing. I live in a big city. Your opinions on business and outreach would be that if they were building a subway system in New York now you and people like you would have the subway lines only serve Manhattan and "parts" of the outer boroughs where the affluent live. "Why should we run rail lines through the entire city? We should just run subways where we know we can get a decent return" Well guess what? They didn't do this.This is the logic you ALWAYS use when it comes to any city in America wanting to do this. Did it ever occur to you that New York is the richest and most successful business center in the United States and possibly the world? Did it ever occur to you that in may be in large part due to when they "laid rails" in the city the covered the whole city there by making it easy for the entire city to compete and be competitive. Did it ever occur to you that this is a fitting metaphor for why it is a good idea to wire an entire city with broadband and not just affluent areas? Because maybe it will economically life the entire city and make it more competitive on the world market? You need to start looking a t the big picture. Running subways into poor neighborhoods allowed people there to travel to other parts of the city for a better education, better job opportunities. Don't you think doing this with broadband will have the same effect? Broadband access, internet access is the "subway system" of present day life.

Portland, ME
I think maybe the mayor is asking for a lot, but isnt this standard in negotiations? Ask for alot, the bidder(s) will offer less, and you meet somewhere in the middle.

Chicago, IL
Hmmmm, Langley. Home of that intrepid protector of corporate capitalism, the CIA.

Handouts to the poor - can't be doing anything communistic like that. Free computer! What'll be next? Feeding the hungry? Curing the ill free of charge? Sounds like the end of civilization as we know it.

I have an idea! Why don't you do an extraordinary rendition on Mayor Daley. That'll show the lousy commie.
Illigitimati non carborundum

Forest Park, IL

Factor in the cost savings: wifi deployment is substantially cheaper than laying cable or (definitely) fiber optic.

Then factor in the economy of scale: This guarantees a *much* wider reach for the winning bidder, increasing the consumer base enormously while guaranteeing customers (monopoly situation). Comcast can't afford to not bid, because it'll mean losing all broadband revenues in Chicago if they lose. SBC can't afford to not win, because it means the same thing for them. They don't want to cut back to just phone line dependence, especially when community wifi results in VOIP taking away a much larger chunk of their business. The same applies to *any* vendor in Chicago or looking to do business in Chicago in telecommunications.

This the future, and I applaud the RFP draft for the emphasis they put on community technologies. If anything, I think there should be stronger language enforcing network neutrality (the basis for net neutrality is already there) and the provision of free high-speed access for community technology initiatives as a basis for supporting digital literacy training efforts.

And to echo another poster's responses above, this is *exactly* like the deployment of a rail system. Chicago profited tremendously from being an industrial hub back in the day when rail lines established trade routes and communications. In today's world, we trade in information and the need is for knowledge workers. If Chicago wants to regain its competitive edge, we need a digitally literate professional workforce. Deploying community technology initiatives to the entire city along with wifi access, with an emphasis on marginalized communities, is an essential requirement. To even suggest otherwise is to endorse a typically entitled perspective that serves to further widen the gap between the have's and the have not's.

My detailed comments on the Chicago Wireless RFP are here: »www.digitalraindrop.com/Chicago-Wifi-RFP



Chicago, IL

this news was allready announced a few days ago, boys, lol

on the news channels

Chicago, IL

Re: this news was allready announced a few days ago, boys, lol

Any company in the 11th ward is free to bid on the project...

Mr Anon



If this work then it will be really cool, I live accross the street from chicago but I already have access, it would still just be nice, it would make my girlfriend want to live here thoug heh.

The good thing about this is that my friend who is a vet and lives in chicago would be able to get on even though his benefits don't allow him to do things like have interent access, pay for a place in a good neighborhood... eat.

Also I could build a small box and have sort of an intercom with my aunt and friends all over.

... IF it happens.