an unusual move, the City of
is seeking public comment until June 14
of a draft Wireless Broadband Request for Proposals (RFP).
The RFP will pave the way for the city
to take advantage of its unique position of being one of the world’s centers for
Internet infrastructure, by making it more available to the city’s citizens and
businesses, particularly low-income residents without access to affordable
the RFP states:
“In times past, Chicagoans have overcome natural
obstacles by innovating and building upon the city’s assets – thereby changing
the course of history. In the 19th Century, when Chicago was a muddy outpost of
about 20,000 people, Milwaukee and St. Louis seemed better poised to become
gateways to the western frontiers. Chicago changed history by having the
foresight to focus on transportation as an economic driver: first by creating a
canal system, later by staking out a plan to become the nation’s primary railway
and most recently by being home to the world’s busiest
Just as Chicago has become world-renowned for our ability
to move people and goods, our next challenge is to ensure that we have the
infrastructure and human capital in place
represents the basis for the City’s vision for this
objectives of the initiative are to:
- Ensure universal and affordable high-speed Internet
access for all Chicago residents, businesses and visitors to the city, paying
specific attention to low-income populations and underserved areas;
- Enhance education through the use of technology and
improve the interaction between teachers, students and parents;
- Promote job creation, business growth and economic
- Improve the efficiency of government service delivery.
has advised the City of Chicago through a number of task forces and advisory
committees over the years to to work with the private sector to ensure all
neighborhoods have access to broadband, especially small to mid-size businesses
that are often not reached at affordable levels.
RFP, released on May 30, calls for a winning team to
- Universal service: The network must be universally
available throughout the City;
- Affordable: High-speed access must be available at an
affordable level for underserved Chicagoans;
- Open access: The network must be built on open
standards and allow for greatest open access to retail vendors;
- Investment in digital inclusion: Proposals must include clearly
articulated plans for reducing the digital divide.
The city is proposing a public-private partnership model whereby the city will not
own the network, and will not provide financial subsidies to the network.
The city is willing to “grant negotiated
access to its street light poles, traffic signal poles and other infrastructure
on a non-exclusive basis.”
RFP hits on a number of issues that MPC has been concerned about, including
expanding access to broadband in the neighborhoods, providing strategies to
expand digital inclusion efforts throughout the city, providing fixed services
to businesses at a speed of at least 3 Mbps (equivalent to T1 service), and an
open network that will spark additional investment in technology infrastructure
in the city.
your voice heard!
The city is
interested in comments on the proposal.
's Broadband Wireless DRAFT
RFP is published and is available at
Please send your comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org before June 14th, 2006.