Chicago may end up succeeding where so many other cities have failed with its plan to build a municipal broadband network. Two dozen communications companies have responded to the city’s request for interest (RFI).
Companies including Cisco, Alcatel, AT&T, Verizon, Level 3 and Motorola Mobility, as well as smaller local-based groups like the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Chicago Computer Society, have responded, according to Chicago Business. Comcast also responded to the RFI, according to one of the MSO's spokesman.
The publication said 24 companies filed responses to the RFI by last week's deadline and that the city is not releasing details of what proposals yet.
Chicago is trying to encourage private investment in completing a high-speed fiber ring that would link existing and emerging tech centers scattered around the city. Chicago is offering use of existing network assets and access to city-owned vias, which would make deployment easier and potentially far less expensive.
Chicago aims to leverage the network to offer free Wi-Fi access in some public spaces, and perhaps encourage the extension of residential high-speed broadband services in more Chicago neighborhoods.
The city does not yet have a set schedule, but it wants the network build to begin next year.
The list of respondents includes the following:
- Alcatel - Lucent
- AT& T
- Axia Networks USA
- Business Only Broadband
- Cable Runner
- Charge Station
- Chicago Computer Society
- Cisco Systems
- Dell Marketing
- Everywhere Wireless
- Gigabit Squared
- Global Services International
- Jaroth DBA Pacific Telemanagement Service
- Level 3
- Motorola Solutions
- Networks Of Woodlawn
- NIU Broadband Development Group
- Officemax, Sander & Associates
- i3 America, Scott Bradshaw
This story was updated to include mention of Comcast'a participation and to include the list of participants.