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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Friday, January 30, 2004


Profile of Chicago's proposed CivicNet municipal broadband network

Dave Lundy has a profile in the Chicago Sun-Times of local executive and CivicNet proponent Craig Watson. The last third of the article describes Chicago's proposed CivicNet municipal broadband network; some excerpts:
"... CivicNet is a proposed network that would connect all city agencies, including the 600 city schools, throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. If it goes forward, CivicNet would reduce the cost of broadband to city agencies and give the city's infrastructure an enormously large broadband footprint. Once you have that, you can open the network to private/public access so companies in parts of the city that don't currently have broadband could get it at a reduced cost."

"... Chicago created the concept of a metropolitan network that was base-loaded by city demand, but we've been surpassed by New York, Houston, London and others -- all cities that have gone leaps ahead and executed when we appear to have just been sitting."

"... In contrast to the main commercial areas of the city, neighborhoods such as Little Village, Bronzeville, Wicker Park, South Shore and others lack broadband access. There is also virtually no fiber installed south of I-55. In those areas, even if a business wants to put in a T-1 line at $500-600 a month, it still sometimes take three months for them to get a line."

"... It sounds as if the city believes that there is extra cost involved in doing it. But the information that we have is that there is no incremental cost. And getting more demand reduces the cost for everybody, which is the way telecom has always worked."

(Link from Jim Baller at the Baller Herbst Law Group via his mailing list)


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