Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Chicago gets serious about government-sponsored WiFi

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.