If Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets his way, all parks and open spaces in Chicago will join Millennium Park in offering free wireless internet access to the public.
“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,” Emanuel said in an announcement of the city’s “Broadband Challenge.”
The initiative invites the private sector, universities and private citizens to weigh in with thoughts on how to best leverage current broadband assets and plan for future expansion. The city issued a Request for Information (RFI) document on Monday, Sept. 24, seeking feedback to help the city build broadband infrastructure, extend service to underserved areas and extend free access in public spaces.
In a partnership with internet service provider SilverIP, Chicago began offering free Wi-Fi in famed Millennium Park earlier this month. Through the Broadband Challenge, Emanuel hopes to forge additional connections with companies and organizations that can build on this offering, and extend connectivity throughout the Windy City.
More information about Chicago’s Broadband Challenge can be found here.