Travel to the corner of 63rd and Pulaski on the southwest side of Chicago, and you'll find some really distinctive architecture - a former bank, an old-fashioned shoe store, a relatively new library, and a large Indian who has switched from selling tobacco to eye care. Soon, that corner will strengthen its network as neighborhood businesses and local residents gain wifi access.
One of the "hidden treasure" projects currently underway, the Greater Southwest Development Corp (Note: I did some contract with them last year on online marketing training) is collaborating with Atmosphere Communications to provide wireless internet access (or wifi) to businesses along 63rd Street. Free access is already being provided between Western and Kedzie; work is currently underway to extend that corridor between Kedzie and Cicero along 63rd Street. In 2014, free wifi access will be provided along Pulaski between 55th and 71st. (Although access is free, increased bandwidth and higher download speeds can be obtaining through a purchasing club-style program).
It's part of an overall move towards digital excellence on the south side - the South
Side Broadband Project is helping several key neighborhoods on the eastern side of 63rd street gain broadband access. In short, 63rd Street is moving towards providing some form of high speed Internet access to its various businesses and residents. Without sounding overly dramatic, high speed online access (whether broadband or wireless) drives economic development, whether through access for job seekers, expansion of a business' online presence, or even increased productivity through web-based and/or "cloud" tools - in short, it expands available online networks and provides for much greater participation in the "digital economy"
In short, it means that the city of Chicago - and an especially underserved area - will move that much closer towards digital excellence.
And that Indian on 63rd and Pulaski will be known for more than just a brief glimpse in the movie Wayne's World.
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As always, thanks for reading!