City Council News

Statement From Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) Regarding Broadband Internet Service For Chicago

The real benefit of a technology is how it serves society as a
whole, not just the wealthy or the techie whose laptop and latest
gadgets can get them a signal anytime they're within sight of a
Starbucks.
Last year, Alderman Ed Burke and I formed the Chicago Wireless Task
Force, which had representatives from the business, non-profit and
educational communities.
We held neighborhood hearings throughout the city last summer and
several themes emerged. From the beginning, there was a concern that
Wi-Fi technology should be shared with the most underserved of our
city's population. Although high speed Internet access is available in
many parts of the city, it does not reach to all communities. Our goal
was to get this into neighborhoods from Albany Park to Hegewisch, to
Garfield Park and Austin. We didn't need to worry about Michigan Avenue
and Lincoln Park.
In the past ten years, access to the internet has gone from being a
luxury to a basic need. Today, it's is nearly impossible to be employed
without at least basic computer literacy skills. Access to the internet
will raise workforce skills and help prepare Chicago children for jobs
in a global economy.
In addition, this project has the potential to spur economic
development in Chicago. Small companies rely on the internet to conduct
business.
Inclusion of ALL Chicago and its neighborhoods is the heart of
providing Wi-Fi for the city in a 21st Century world. I thank Mayor
Daley for his leadership and Chicago's CIO Hardik Bhatt for his hard
work on this project.