A 21st century digital infrastructure is critical to supporting Chicago’s long-term growth, job creation, global competitiveness, and overall quality of life. Mayor Emanuel is committed to making the investments required to ensure that Chicago is prepared to meet the demands of the modern economy and position Chicago as one of the most connected cities in the world.

This is where you come in.

The Broadband Challenge opens a dialogue with the public, inviting all Chicagoans and subject matter experts to get creative and explore the possibilities of how to successfully build this infrastructure and identify what a globally leading digital network allows us to accomplish.  This ongoing dialogue will inform how the City moves forward with its overall broadband development strategy.  Any individual, company, student, nonprofit organization, or community group is encourage to respond, either informally through this website or as part of the formal response processes via the Department of Procurement Services.

The Broadband Challenge has 3 goals:

  1. Build a world-class gigabit-speed network to serve businesses, universities, and other organizations 
  2. Provide affordable internet service in underserved residential areas
  3. Establish free wireless service in parks and public spaces citywide

We need your ideas

The Broadband Challenge invites the public to submit ideas and insights on:

1. How the City can best make use of its existing broadband infrastructure and potential uses for future expansion of high-speed broadband access citywide. So let’s fill-in-the blank here:

  • “If I had ultra-high-speed broadband at home I could….”
  • “If my school/church/community group had blazing fast internet service we could…”
  • “If my company had gigabit speed fiber we could…”

To submit your thoughts on how the City could use faster broadband service, send your answers to these questions, along with any general comments to chicagobroadband@cityofchicago.org.

2. How the City can successfully make these critical infrastructure improvements.  On February 10, 2014, the City of Chicago released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) seeking qualified companies to design, construct, implement and manage a state-of-the-art gigabit-speed broadband network that can serve businesses and organizations in key commercial and industrial corridors (“Innovation Zones”) throughout the City at a cost substantially below current market offerings.  If a firm is selected to provide such a broadband network and service, the City may also seek provision of broadband services to specified City remote offices.

The RFQ can be found here.  Only respondents selected during the RFQ process will be eligible to respond to the subsequent RFP and submit detailed proposals for consideration.  Any questions regarding the RFQ can be sent to altha.riley@cityofchicago.org.  RFQ responses must be submitted using the process outlined in the RFQ documents.


  • February 21, 2014 – Pre-submittal Conference at City Hall, Room 1103 at 2:30 p.m.  See Attendee List here.
  • February 28, 2014 – RFQ Questions Due
  • March 28, 2014 – RFQ Responses Due
Additional Information
A Request for Information was released in Fall 2012 seeking feedback and information on the Broadband Challenge goals.

Share →