Chicago extends response deadline for broadband expansion RFI

Chicago has extended the deadline for responding to the RFI for broadband infrastructure expansion. The new deadline is 19 November 2012 (extended from 31 October 2012). It has also released an Addendum to the RFI, which you should download if you wish to respond.

As I mentioned before, Chicago has 3 goals:
– create an open access gigabit fiber network;
– provide free or cheap high speed wired or wireless Internet broadband service;
– free Wi-Fi service in parks and other public spaces.

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UPDATE: Chicago’s broadband plans go back even further than the 2007 muni Wi-Fi plan! Nine years ago it was called Chicago Civic Net. I posted the Chicago Civic Net RFP on 25 June 2003 when Muniwireless was barely a few weeks old, so this is one of the earliest public tenders on the website. The bidders were AT&T, SBC and the US subsidiary of Alcatel. Click here to see my old post and to download the RFP, if you’re curious to see what they were up to.

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What’s clear from the RFI is that the city’s focus is on wired fiber broadband with wireless as an add-on for mobility and cheap broadband service. Given the requirement that the fiber network be open to all service providers, it is unlikely that an incumbent telecom operator would bid for this project. The most likely candidate is Google which has already deployed a fiber network in Kansas City and received more than enough sign-ups for fiber service. According to Google, 180 out of the 202 “fiberhoods” in Kansas City have met the minimum number of residents (who preregistered and paid a small fee) required for Google to come in and deliver fiber-to-the-home service.

I have posted the two RFI documents (main document and addendum) on Scribd (see below).

Chicago Broadband Infrastructure Expansion RFI

Addendum 1 of Chicago Broadband Infrastructure Expansion RFI