Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Chicago gets serious about government-sponsored WiFi

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Did you hear? For the last six months or so the Chicago city government has been contemplating providing free WiFi access throughout the entire city, for use by its citizens; we would become the largest city in the US to do so, if it actually happens. Now, according to local hipster guide GapersBlock.com, the city has created a task force to actually see if it can be done, and has drafted legislation giving the city the right to do so, as a pre-emptive strike against the state government possibly banning cities from doing this (being the prison-bitches of the telecommunications industry that they are). The idea would be to install a total of 7,500 WiFi broadcasters on the tops of streetlights, every few blocks across the entire city, so that citizens would have free 24-hour home internet access no matter where they live; they're estimating at this point that the total cost will be somewhere around $18 million. This will be a very interesting thing to follow this year, I think; speaking as a poor artist who can't afford home internet access himself, I really really really really really really really really hope they do it.