Wi-Fi in Chicago’s Tri-Cities

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If you’ve followed Lafayette’s fiber fight you know it was guided by lessons learned in Illinois’ Tri-Cities region where a determined pro-fiber band was beaten down by an ugly and dishonest campaign by the incumbent providers Comcast and SBC (which became AT&T and then bought BellSouth). The lessons learned there convinced many that only a full-throated battle that inoculated the people against incumbent lies stood a chance of being successful. Lafayette proved that if both city officials and local community activists were willing to stand and fight without compromise the battle could be won. Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles showed the way. Their loss became our gain.

Now, the Geneva Daily Herald reports, Geneva and St. Charles will at least be getting a wifi network:

Computer users in Geneva could have access to free citywide wireless Internet access by the end of the year.

The city council Monday signed a deal with Meshlinx to let the Texas company put Wi-Fi transmitters on utility poles and public buildings throughout the city.

The company, which also signed a contract with St. Charles a few weeks ago, expects to begin surveying the two cities in a few weeks to determine how many radio-frequency emitting devices to install.

…Meshlinx approached the city. It is also in discussions with the city of Batavia.

Good, they’ve earned a break. And Geneva has negotiated a deal whereby the whole city will be served. No cherry-picking.

But Collins, Geneva’s information technology manager, isn’t completely satisfied what they’re getting:

“This isn’t as good as fiber to the home, but it is some competition,” Collins said.

Even as Chicago gives up on its wifi hopes it is good to see that the stalwarts in the suburbs are getting some of what they’ve sought.

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