My thoughts on Chicago’s Broadband Challenge, shared with Forbes:
Chicago just put out the call for private companies to bring new ideas, to collaborate in building the most well connected city in the world. The goal is significant expansion of already robust fiber optic networks to more corners of the city, and additional services for some under served communities.
Done correctly, Chicago could leverage city assets and encourage private fiber networks to spread to all businesses and more neighborhoods. The city grants right away access to streets, sewer systems, alleys and light poles… city owned assets like bus stops, solar powered trash cans and train lines could all be in play. These assets could be leveraged by private companies to more cheaply build out wired and wireless networks, and by offering them up, Chicago gets an important voice in planning how the super high speed networks blanket the city.
Public policy played a critical role in planning the right roads, rail lines and ports that positioned Chicago as a global transportation and logistics hub 50 years ago. It’s no less important to assist in building capacity, speed and diversity in data networks today, and doing so will shape the Chicago economy for decades to come.
And last night on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight: