WiFi Fever Hits Windy City

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. … 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.

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Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.