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Making high-speed lemonade on the South Side

Friday, Mar 28, 2014

* Oy

The state is fighting to take back $2 million in grant money it awarded a company that promised to install ultra-high speed Internet access throughout the South Side.

Gigabit Squared, a Cincinnati-based company that last May touted the high-speed project in nine South Side communities, “has lied repeatedly” about its intentions and may have spent only $250,000 of the grant money for legitimate purposes, said David Roeder, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which issued the grant.

* The company has been a bust everywhere, and maybe far worse

Gigabit—a four-year-old, Cincinnatti-based startup that has announced plans to bring broadband to Topeka, KS, Chicago, Jackson, MS, and other cities—has not, to date, hooked up a single Internet connection anywhere

Kinda looks like grifting to me.

* South Siders were upset with Gigabit back in January…

Two community groups say they will jump-start a delayed plan to roll out ultra-high-speed wireless Internet access to as many as 100,000 residents and 11,000 students on Chicago’s South Side.

Pierre A. Clark, a community activist who heads the Woodlawn Broadband Expansion Partnership and the Southside Broadband Expansion Collaborative, said Sunday that the two groups have developed an alternative plan to deploy the high-speed wireless network first in Woodlawn and ultimately to the South Side, aimed at a mid-spring launch.

* And they’re making some progress

(A) South Side neighborhood group determined to get ultra-high speed Web access in Woodlawn has started work on a demonstration project aimed at starting up in late April. […]

Two of the community group’s engineers with Key Link Technologies, a south suburban engineering design firm, have started testing the Cisco access points at the Blue 1647 innovation center at 1647 S. Blue Island Ave. in Pilsen. The team hopes to put the first access point and network operations center in a business incubator started by Sunshine Enterprises and slated to open this summer at 501 E. 61st St.

Other supporters of the project include Globetrotters Engineering Corp., headquartered in Chicago, which does network mapping, and the New America Foundation, whose open-source software is designed to enable community-based and locally governed technology solutions.

The ultimate goal is to showcase Woodlawn as the “proof of concept” community in expanding to a Wi-Fi and fiber-optic network covering nine communities — Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park and the rest of Woodlawn.

The project engineers hope to set up applications for telemedicine, online banking and financial literacy, and neighborhood safety and communications.

Hopefully, the state won’t step in and screw this one up as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Walker - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 3:12 pm:

    Sounds like the company has scammed a bunch of cities and states.

  2. - PERPLEXED - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 3:15 pm:

    “Hopefully, the state won’t step in and screw this one up as well.”

    NEVER, NEVER underestimate the state to screw things up repeatedly! The have the ability AND the experience…..

  3. - Langhorne - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Doesnt anyone do any due diligence on grantees? Or portion out payments? Was this grant another political favor?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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