Chicago plans to build a huge wi-fi network, following in the path of other US cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco. The purpose is to offer “broad and affordable” access and heighten Chicago’s appeal for businesses and tourists.
It would be great if they put something like this in Toronto because then I could take my laptop everywhere and be assured access. Funding for this type of thing could come from Federal, provincial and municipal sources if the idea were to get off the ground.
Update: In August 2006, BusinessWeek highlighted the Top 10 Municipal Wi-Fi Plans. Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco make the list.
Here’s a ranking of US cities by public wi-fi hotspots as of June 2009. Chicago ranks 3rd after New York and San Francisco.
Microsoft even has a list of the top US cities for wi-fi access, although Chicago is not listed.