Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has instructed officials to research the feasibility of blanketing downtown Chicago in a wireless data network, The Guardian reported. The plan would include turning the city’s traffic light poles and street light poles into “smart poles,” ideally providing unbroken Internet access anywhere in the city, including underground in the Chicago Transit Authority’s subway system.
It wouldn’t be the first time Chicago has pursued a municipal wireless network. From 2006 to 2009, Chicago was one of several big U.S. cities where plans fell apart after the economics of such vendor-built networks didn’t add up. But from the sound of it, Emanuel is set to try again.
"There are 100 cities in the world that drive the creativity, the economy, the world GDP, the culture — and Chicago's one of those 100," Emanuel said, reported The Guardian. "The decisions we make here in the next two to three years will determine whether Chicago 20 or 30 years from now stays in that 100 club or veers off track. That's true for the mayor of Shanghai, or London, or Paris, or New York — what we do now will determine our trajectory."
This plan is among many of the mayor’s ambitious undertakings the past year, which include a $7 billion plan to overhaul the city’s infrastructure, restructuring the city’s departments, creating safeguards against government corruption, cutting remuneration for commission members, hosting the NATO summit, and encouraging Walgreens and Chase to expand their presences in the city. His goal, he said, reported The Guardian, is to make Chicago "one of the most livable of cities in America."