CHICAGO, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced a plan to establish the city as a hub for ultra-fast Internet service and provide free WiFi in public spaces.
"Chicago will be one of the most connected cities in the world," Emanuel said. "The establishment of a world-class broadband network in Chicago will create thousands of jobs and dramatically improve educational opportunities, economic development, health care services, and general quality of life throughout the city."
Emanuel made the remarks as he inaugurated the "Chicago Broadband Challenge" by turning on free WiFi in Millennium Park Monday morning, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The first goal, he said, is to build a network infrastructure that will offer Internet service at "gigabit" speeds and focus the ultra-fast connections in commercial and industrial areas Emanuel termed "innovation zones."
Faster Internet service would also be of benefit to Chicago's disadvantaged neighborhoods, he said.
The city will seek input from the public via the Chicago Broadband Challenge website to create the network and ensure it is tailored for residents and companies, he said.
No estimate of how much it would cost to build the infrastructure network was included in the announcement, the Tribune reported