City Wide Wifi

I know it’s been brought up on the blog before, but my powers of search-fu are weak, and I couldn’t find it… Anyway, on 848 this morning, they were talking about City-Wide Wifi. Personally, I think it’s a great idea. I don’t see it as a “Tool for Yuppies,” but as a way to help bring the internet to under-serviced communities. From my experiences, the families I work with usually have access to one computer; however, getting decent internet access is difficult. Sometimes, the cost of broadband service is prohibitive; I think if the City can come up with a cheap alternative for all Chicagoans, this idea would benefit more than the yuppies.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

9 Comments so far

  1. rob (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 10:55 am

    hell yeah! If you are by the cultural center look for the wireless network called “WIZ” that’s the citys AP.

    The speed is great and smtp ports are open so you can actually send email. It’s totally awesome. Especially if I get in early for a client meeting or have an hour or two to kill.

  2. Alana (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 11:18 am

    I work in educational technology as a multimedia/web designer during the day. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is that we create all of these wonderful learning tools for online use and once the kids are home, where they need access the most, they don’t have any way to get to them. The added expense of DSL or a cable modem proves to be more than many of the poorer families can swallow. I love the idea of children sitting with laptops in the park on a nice spring day having a rich classroom experience because this sort of technology has been made available to them.

    C’mon. How many times have you looked outside on a gorgeous day and wished supermegahard that you could just wander around with a laptop and get your work done? I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  3. JenniferRoche (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 11:25 am

    All the Chicago Public Libraries — all of them — have free wireless and let you you plug your power cord in, too!

  4. Dave! (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 11:26 am

    I love the idea of children sitting with laptops in the park, too… but if you can’t afford the DSL at home, can you really afford a laptop with wi-fi?!

    Don’t get me wrong, I completely support a city-wide wi-fi network, and in the long term I think it can help provide access to under-serviced communities. But don’t forget that the wi-fi is only one part of the equation–getting those under-serviced communities the computers to use it is another that most people don’t ever seem to mention. Until that issue is also addressed, a city network would be a tool for yuppies.

  5. Marty Gleason (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 11:38 am

    Getting the people in my neighborhoods computers–decent, working computers– can occur. DSL, however, may not. A majority of the families I work with use Pre-pay phones and do not have land lines. The few that do have land lines are looking to get rid of them shortly. Additionally, for DSL service, you have be within a certain distance to some sort of phone juncture. Given that as of 2003, when I lived on Belmont and Ashland, I wasn’t close enough to a serviceable box, I can’t see how communities on the South and West side will be any closer to decent boxes in 2005.

    Also, like I said in my post, most families I work with have access to at least one computer on their block; furthermore, in many of the schools I work with, there are flyers for cheap laptops and desktops. While this is still just from my experiences in the community, there are a number of 2nd hand computers and computer technicians in the the under-service neighborhoods. They use a lot of flyers and cheap storefronts to get their business…

    …This glut of technicians, again from my experience with these families in the community, seems to stem from Illinois Department of Correction and Cook County Probation/Parole programs that encourage individuals to work with computers.

  6. Marty Gleason (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 11:41 am

    Oh, and more more thing:

    DSL prices for the first 3 months are, usually, $20. Then they increase. Prices then vary from 20-40 a month, in addition to regular phone service. This is, on a month to month basis, much less affordable than a one time cost of $200-$300.

  7. steven (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 12:06 pm

    No matter who it helps up front, a wireless network is a great idea. And while children may not be able to afford a laptop with a wireless connection, perhaps the city can. Maybe they could spend a few bucks to hook up some laptops in some schools and expose the kids to the experience of a classroom in the park. Now I’m not sure how feasible that is, knowing that some schools are still using closets for classrooms, but it’s something to work towards.

    Either way, wireless is good.

  8. Alana (unregistered) on July 21st, 2005 @ 12:08 pm

    I should have mentioned that many schools have classroom laptops at this point. And most homes, regardless of income, have at least one computer.


    There is a large movement to reduce books down to CDs or even jumpdrives and have the student only carry one laptop, making the accompanying educational materials light enough to fit in a small pocket.

    California, for example, has restrictions on the amount of weight a student is required to carry. One laptop with a handful of jumpdrives on a keyring instead of books is a lot easier to carry & a lot easier to keep the content up-to-date.

  9. suzanne (unregistered) on July 25th, 2005 @ 3:43 am

    We’re working on that in Philadelphia, and I’m still out on if it will actually help the poor or not.

    I’m thinking in the long-run it will be a good thing; but for now, it will only benefit folks like myself who can afford nice computers with wireless cards.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.