Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced Tuesday, Oct. 16, that gigabit fiber and wireless will be deployed in Chicago’s Mid-South Side thanks to the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge award, which was given to Gigabit Squared.

Illinois’ investment of $2 million will help support Gigabit Squared’s nationally renowned Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program to create jobs, improve neighborhood safety, enhance education and improve health-care services, according to a press release.

This is Gigabit Squared’s first fiber network deployment under the Gig.U project. The initiative’s first phase will bring gigabit speed fiber to more than 4,825 residents, businesses, schools and health-care institutions in the Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn and Washington Park neighborhoods over the next year. Then, based on neighborhood participation and adoption, gigabit broadband access could be available to as many as 210,000 residents and the 10,000 commercial businesses in the area.

"This public-private investment infrastructure will promote economic development and engender a smarter, safer and digitally empowered community surrounding the University of Chicago," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the press release. "This project is a great first step toward realizing the goal of the Chicago Broadband Challenge: an open, next-generation network for the entire city."

The gigabit initiative announcement comes just three weeks after Emanuel announced a citywide Wi-Fi initiative. Emanuel’s Wi-Fi plan, called the Chicago Broadband Challenge, is to convert Chicago into one of the most interconnected cities in the country.

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Jessica Mulholland  |  Web Editor/Photographer

Jessica Mulholland has been a writer and editor for more than 10 years. She was previously the editor of Emergency Management magazine, and she loves that she can incorporate her passion for photography into her work as a part of the Government Technology editorial team. Jessica can be reached at on Twitter and on Google+.