Chicago posts clarifications to broadband RFI

The city of Chicago has answered 134 questions submitted by prospective respondents to the Broadband Infrastructure Expansion RFI, whose goal is to get private firms to use the city’s existing wired broadband infrastructure, city-owned facilities and parks to improve wired and wireless broadband service to the city’s residents and businesses. I reviewed the Q&A and found that the city was extremely vague in responding to the questions. Most of the responses were useless. I guess they want to keep all their options open. The city also posted a list of attendees from the Pre-Submittal Conference and as expected, AT&T and Comcast, were in attendance.


  1. I wouldn’t say the responses were useless? It seems that those raising questions didn’t get that this was simply idea gathering from the city. This is the way to do it (like they did with CivicNet 12 years ago – killed by ATT however). They could just work with a biggie behind the scenes and come out with an RFP. Instead they choose to do an RFI and let all sorts tell them how they think it should work, not so much from a technical perspective, but also from a business and strategic arrangement. Clearly the city wants an open infrastructure that many retail providers can sell over but from there it’s really wide open on technology and business models. They rejected one question about private use but I think the question wasn’t posed well. If they think about it more I’m sure they’re realize it would be easy and valuable to allow private WANs to be run over this network as it generates revenue and puts some real competition on ATT who’s an effective monopoly in Chicago. My company would certainly want to take advantage of that for our clients.