Chicago searches for 1 Gbps fiber provider partners

Chicago's plans to provide some parts of the city with gigabit-capable fiber broadband service came closer to reality as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office put forward requests for qualifications from service provider partners, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Under the mayor's two-phase process, the city will choose a service provider that will provide financial assistance to build out gigabit service in seven of what it calls "Innovation Zones."

These innovation zones include: Loop; West Loop; River North; University of Chicago and Medical Center; Illinois Institute of Technology and Bronzeville Commercial District; and Ravenswood and Pullman Industrial Corridors.

The city said it will take time to examine qualifications and proposals from potential partners.

Kate Yager, Chicago's deputy chief of policy, said that by providing affordable 1 Gbps service, it will make Chicago a more attractive hub for businesses and education.

"This is really a huge economic development initiative," she said.

However, this is not the only fiber broadband initiative the city has embarked upon. In October 2012, the city won an Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge award under which the state will invest $2 million to help support partner Gigabit Squared's Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program (GNGP).

For more:
- Chicago Tribune has this article

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