Three companies file to become Chicago’s Wi-Fi Provider for 10 years – Big Impact on Schools, Libraries and Communities

For immediate release

For more information, contact Phil Costello, Executive Director, Youth Communication at
Columbia College Chicago, 312-922-7150

January 3, 2007 Yesterday at 4pm in the Bid and Bond Room 301 in Chicago City Hall, it was announced that three companies filed by the deadline to become the City of Chicago's Community Wireless Broadband Network under a 10-year contract expected to be awarded in mid to late 2007.

Under the City of Chicago's RFP, the Wireless Broadband Provider will make affordable broadband available to 95 percent or more of the City's 550,000 home and business building structures, through use of wireless equipment on up to 155,000 light standards including 90,000 City-owned light and traffic poles. In addition to providing broadband to City of Chicago public safety and municipal services, free broadband will be provided to all schools and many parks and public access areas, not including airports, and the provider will cooperate with free wireless services provided to persons using laptops at all Chicago Public Libraries.

The RFP calls for bidders to target over 22 percent of contract work for minority and women businesses, and to provide a series of Community Benefits to communities and nonprofit organizations, such as community websites, forums, maps and media centers.

The filing parties are; SBC Internet Services, Inc. dba ATT Internet Services, EarthLink Municipal Networks, and nextWLAN Corporation, a wi-fi company from Los Gatos, California.

City of Chicago representatives said they will review the legal, procurement, financial and technical aspects of the bids and schedule interviews with qualifying bidders sometime late in the first or in the second quarter of 2007. There are several cities attempting wi-fi accessibility in the U.S. but Chicago would be the first metropolitan market to create a wi-fi network for its urban population.

Youth Communication, now in its 30th year as Chicago’s Authentic Teen Voice, publishes 45,000 copies of New Expression teen newsmagazine, circulated to 210 city high schools, libraries and other teen activity locations. In coming issues, New Expression will interview City of Chicago officials, high school students, and others on the impact of Wi-Fi and other Digital Future technologies on lives and learning of Chicago area youth. 

Give me a call if you have questions.

Phil Costello
Executive Director

ofc/312 922 7150 or cell/847 732 6484
619 S. Wabash Ave. - Suite 207, Chicago, IL 60605