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Google gives back to Chicago with free Wi-Fi
Google is apparently taking its increased Chicago presence seriously.
The search juggernaut is not yet done with its new Motorola Mobility space in the Merchandise Mart, nor its new Fulton Market offices. But that hasn’t stopped it from announcing its newest buildout — Chicago’s parks.
Both Garfield Park and the South Shore Cultural center will have free Wi-Fi by the end of the year, courtesy of Google. “This is core to Google’s mission, which is to make the world’s information universally accessible,” says Google spokesperson Rob Biederman. “Google’s providing all of the funding, but it will be owned and operated by the Park District. We’ll fund the installation and build of the network, and provide free access for three years.”
The internet access is part of the mayor’s Broadband Challenge, an initiative to expand internet access throughout the city. So far the challenge has added free Wi-Fi to five beaches in a partnership with Cisco and Everywhere Wireless, and to Millennium Park through a partnership with Silver Communications.
When we talked to Chicago’s outgoing Chief Technology Officer John Tolva earlier this month, he highlighted Wi-Fi in the parks as a crucial piece of the city’s technology plan. “It’s sort of like a honey pot to a bear,” he said. “You want to do what you can to shape the environment so you get these communities actually interacting with one another.”
To find out more about the city’s tech plan, read the full interview with Tolva here.
ABOVE: The Garfield Park Conservatory. Photo by Peter Holderness