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Chicago seeks city-wide wireless Internet access


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Chicago seeks city-wide wireless Internet access

Chicago could soon become the world's largest Internet cafe now that the city hall has put out a request for bids to build a city-wide wireless Internet system.

The goal is to provide inexpensive -- or even free -- Internet access to all residents in order to help Chicago bridge the digital divide, Mayor Richard Daley said in a statement Tuesday.

"In technology, as in too many other areas of our society, there's a wide gap between the haves and have-nots," Daley said. "It's known as the digital divide - and the people on the wrong side of the divide generally have lower incomes and less education."

According to one estimate the city cited, even though Internet use has been on the rise among most Americans, 80 percent of households with incomes below 50,000 dollars a year remain unconnected.

The city of Chicago will offer the long-term use of its infrastructure, such as street lights and lamp poles to a private firm or consortium to use to set up the antennas used to broadcast a high-speed wireless network.

The provider would have to: commit to keep rates low; provide access even in the city's poorest neighborhoods; offer free access in schools, public parks and other destination "hot spots"; and support digital inclusion projects to make computers more widely available to low-income residents.

Chicago was the first big American city to have free wireless Internet access throughout its public library system. Other public "hot spots" currently include Millennium Park, the Cultural Center and Daley Plaza.

"When we make modern computer and Internet technology available across Chicago, we are giving every person in Chicago the same chance for a good life," Daley said.

"We're improving our children's education. We're working to end poverty. We're creating a more modern, sophisticated workforce. And, most important, we're creating hope and opportunity."

Copyright AFP 2005,

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Guest PeePs

Won't the poor people still be paying for their internet through taxes that are required in order to build and maintain such a system? Nothing is ever free. Think of how many people would be using the wireless network and the amount of bandwidth they would need!

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so this time is chicago

can some one please update me in SanFrancisco and loads of other cities that wanted to deploy free or paid city wide wireless

has any city at the moment have wifi deployed in a scale of a city?

yes or no ?

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