Chicago residents and visitors will soon have access to 100 percent free Wi-Fi service in public areas and city parks. Known as the Chicago Broadband Challenge, the new initiative will come to such popular areas as Millenium Park.
Kicked off on Monday morning by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, the program is now offering for input from free Wi-Fi users. Anyone who tests the new system and wants to provide feedback can visit the Challenge’s website or go through more formal proposals which will be solicited by city officials.
Chicago’s tech team hopes to eventually customize the service to also serve the specialized needs of companies and residents.
Officials are taking suggestions at this time from individuals, students, companies, non-profits, and community groups.
In the future, Rahm Emmanuel is hoping to develop a high speed network capable of bringing a gigabyte speed infrastructure to the area. If those speeds are met, they will be approximately 100 times faster than currently available basic cable modem outputs.
Emmanuel notes that the ultra-fast connection speeds however would be reserved for commercial and industrial areas where they would be of most benefit. Such a maneuver could position Chicago to attract high-tech companies that are always looking for high end infrastructure support.
The Mayor admitted that most of Chicago’s disadvantaged areas are in desperate need of high speed internet, although he did not set a timetable for those areas to receive free high speed internet data rates.
Do you think free Wi-Fi is a good way for Chicago to attract visitors and businesses?