Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to position Chicago for the digital age has received a warm reception from telecom providers, with several companies and industry leaders providing a RFI (Request for Information, a preliminary pitch) providing insight on the project.
A total of twenty-four companies including Cisco, AT&T, Verizon, Level 3 and Motorola Solutions all provided RFIs prior to the deadline last week. The initiative has already created an agreement in providing free Wi-Fi in Millennium Park. The hope is not only create accessibility throughout the city in areas underserved but parks and public areas as well. Gigabit services are also planned in neighborhoods around centralized locations and academic centers (Michael Reese hospital, Bucktown, Wicker Park, parts of Ravenswood, McCormick Ce
nter, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago Medical Center and South Loop which encompasses Columbia College and Roosevelt University. Other neighborhoods currently in discussion which come to a total of fifteen locations include the Loop, West Loop, River North, Loyola and DePaul.
The City plans to utilize its own real estate and infrastructure, such as CTA real estate, underground tunnels and sewer lines other no formal plan or cost has been released.