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Local Projects

Page history last edited by Matt Bergbower 14 years, 5 months ago

Neighborhood-, village-, town-, and city-wide projects:



Auburn - Sangamon County

 Wireless Presentation to City Council COH 4-18-06.pdf

Proposal to City Council sought $600,000 to fund a $2,000,000 citywide wireless network.


Aurora - Kane, DuPage, Will and Kendall Counties




Citywide WiFi fails to emerge in Naperville, Aurora



MetroFi installed an ad-supported 5-square mile free wireless broadband network (enabled by 120 access points) in Aurora. Implementation has been slowed as the wireless company had to negotiate fees for pole use with ComEd. Advertising to support the free service appears as a one-inch strip across the bottom of the user's Internet browser. The network is designed to provide free outdoor access, but indoor connections are possible with the purchase of a ~$100 signal booster (router). MetroFi plans to invest $1million to complete a 42-square mile network. Users can pay ~$20 a month for ad-free service. MetroFi agreed to finish by Fall ’07, but has been delayed by lack of access to backhaul and utility pole mounting rights.




Aurora pays $8,000/mo. to Comcast for its municipal network, and expects the figure to triple in coming years. In December 2005, the City Council approved a $5 million bond to create a city fiber network (to connect municipal offices). In the spring of 2006, the City Council approved a plan to pay ITQ LATA (a tech consultant) $50,000 to develop an RFP for a $7.7 million fiber optic backbone to connect every municipal, school, public safety and city service building in Aurora.




Mayor Tom Weisner created the Aurora Technology Council to solicit private funds and in-kind contributions from tech companies for computer equipment for low-income families. 

Belleville - St. Clair County




With a $20,000 grant from the Lt. Governor, Belleville Main Street contracted with Norcom 2000, a local Internet Service Provider to deploy a 30-square block free wireless network. The wireless network blankets roughly 80 stores and offices. Wireless broadband nodes are mounted on Meckfessel's Tire shop, the Community Kindness Resale Shop and Norcom 2000’s headquarters.



Bement - Piatt County




Bement Township Library has established a Wi-Fi hot spot and local citizens may now use this connection for their laptops.  Additionaly, according to the article, no library card is needed to use the Wi-Fi.


Article can be found at:






Breese - Clinton County



Burr Ridge - Cook and DuPage Counties


Public safety committee continues talks about surveillance



$882,000  Video surveillance network planned; Invision Network integrator plans to use Motorola Mesh equipment.

The network will be useful not just for surveillance, but "public safety, data networking, communications and municipal operations."

Motorola's mesh system is used by 60+ villages and cities nationwide.


Contact: Finance Director Jerry Sapp

Calhoun - Richland County


Calhoun's village board signed a contract with local ISP Kaizen Net.

The company will purchase and mount 3 wireless access points -- including one on the village water tower -- and give the village free access for municipal use and a dollar each month for every user who pays for the service.


Contacts: Jon McDonald, Kaizen Net

Mayor Spencer Brock, Board members Chuck Brewer, Brad Hayes, Dave Leaf, Gary Petty, Larry Shipman and Floyd Williams

Carbondale - Jackson County




With a $20,000 grant from the Lt. Governor, Carbondale Main Street contracted with local entrepreneur James Throgmorton to deploy a wireless broadband network downtown. Local tech consultant James Throgmorton worked with SIU-Carbondale to extend existing wireless broadband coverage beyond the campus community. Elaine Ramseyer, manager of the Longbranch coffee house said her patrons can now surf the Internet while having a cup of java.


Download Carbondale's project blueprint: Carbondale_Wireless_Initiative.pdf.

Carbondale wireless FAQs

Carlinville - Macoupin County




Champaign-Urbana - Champaign County




AT&T will install 100 utility cabinets throughout the city to bring video services to many residents.  The project will link new fiber optic cable with traditional copper telephone wire to provide video services similar to those of cable television.  For full article, visit:  http://www.news-gazette.com/news/2008/04/30/atampt_installing_cabinets_for_video_services




City council approved a plan in June 2007 to hire Pavlov Media to bring wireless broadband to downtown Champaign and West Side Park. Wireless access points will be placed on about 8 city-owned traffic lights. The goal was to have the system running by August 2007. The wireless signal is intended to reach people outside, but users may be able to pick it up in buildings near the access points.


Contacts: T.J. Blakeman, Champaign city planner; Dorothy Kallmayer, Pavlov business development manager





In 2000, CUWiN was formed when the Independent Media Center wanted to extend the reach of their tech center and expand local broadband acces. Unique for developing their own technology to bridge the "last mile," CUWiN creates nodes that use the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band (the spectrum shared by Wi-Fi and over 300 million consumer devices) to connect to each other. CUWiN uses homegrown software, recycled computers and off-the-shelf antennas to create a "mesh" network architecture. The CUWiN network stretches over 40 nodes, including one atop Urbana City Hall, which brings free wireless Internet to the farmers’ market. Today, a coalition including UIUC, City of Urbana, CUWiN Foundation, Independent Media Center, and local businesses are building a CUWiNware-based community network throughout the downtown business district. It offers free wireless access to local residents. Recently (Fall 2007), the coalition received a $600,000 National Science Foundation grant to further develop CUWiNware.




Yahoo plans to open a Champaign facility with about 100 employees, most of whom will be engineers.

The bulk of the center's first hires will be chosen from among the 183 layoffs from Motorola's now-closed Champaign software design center.




"The National Science Foundation announced that the Track 1 leadership class supercomputer will be awarded to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Track 2 award winner is University of Tennessee-Knoxville and its partners." UIUC will receive $208 million over 4.5 years to acquire and make available a petascale computer it calls "Blue Waters," which is 500 times more powerful than today's typical supercomputers. The system is expected to go online in 2011.




Sascha Meinrath and David Young would like the CUWiN network to connect to the City of Urbana’s government-use municipal fiber network, which is largely dormant in the evening. Very few municipalities across the country have leveraged their government-use fiber networks with unlicensed wireless.

Chicago - Cook County




The Chicago Wireless Internet Zones (WIZs) are locations throughout Chicago where free public wireless networks are available. These networks are provided by the City of Chicago in order to promote and develop wireless technology and offer a flexible means of communication.


Hotspot locations include:


79 libraries


Cultural Center 78 E. Washington 60602
Daley Plaza 50 W. Washington 60602
Harold Washington Library 400 S. State Street 60605
Millennium Park 55 N. Michigan Avenue 60611


Contacts: Scott Jakubowski, Lionel Melgar and Al Ruiz



"Even if Chicago declines to back a municipal wireless network, city residents soon will gain more Internet connection options. Sprint Nextel Corp. is building a wireless WiMax network here that is due to offer service next spring. WiMax is a technologic cousin to Wi-Fi intended to cover miles of territory with a wireless Internet signal via radio spectrum, whereas Wi-Fi transmits hundreds of feet per transmitter." - from City disconnecting from Wi-Fi vision and www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-thu-wimax-sprint-nextel-may08,0,3186423.story



Whatever happened to Chicago Civic Net?

Clarendon Hills - DuPage County




The Village of Clarendon Hills contracted with Federal Signal to build a 4.9 GHz wireless mesh network around the dowtown train station. The goal is to let officers access crime scene video and other data from squad cars and the police station. 

Crystal Lake - McHenry County




Crystal Lake contracted with Crystal Lake-based Heartland Communications to build a citywide WiFi network. The network will be built by installing wireless antennas on city buildings and structures, according to Heartland President Lowell Todd. The company will pay for the construction of the network and, in exchange for use of city facilities, Crystal Lake will get free wireless service and 5 percent of gross revenues. Residents can subscribe to the citywide network for $25 a month. Mayor Aaron Shepley supports the project. The city’s downtown area was supposed to be completed and ready for business in summer '07. The network is required to be 80 percent built within 18 months.

excerpted from http://www.freepress.net/news/print/23144

Elgin - Kane County



Fairview - Fulton County




MidCentury Telecom Cooperative’s roughly 80-mile service area runs from Bishop Hill on the north end to Summum down by Astoria. Williamsfield (pop. 620) is the biggest town in the service area. Only Williamsfield and Altona of the numerous small villages were served by cable. Satellite service is an option in these areas, but service was “inconsistent and often curtailed by weather.”

Freeport - Stephenson County




Aero Group...

*Galesburg - Knox County




Galesburg is served by two broadband providers, Insight Communications and Gallatin River Communications, which is being acquired by Century Tel. While both these providers have fiber into the community, their single point of connectivity to their egress causes congestion and is not suitable for businesses that rely solely on connectivity to the Internet. Illinois Century Network (ICN) had a community Point of Presence (POP) site in Galesburg to serve educational entities in Galesburg and the surrounding areas. This POP circuit provided excellent connectivity to Carl Sandburg College and the twenty-one K-12 schools within the College district, but it was disconnected on July 01, 2006. Carl Sandburg College built the EduNet Wireless network (www.cscedunet.net) to overcome the last mile connectivity issue to the Internet for the College and the twenty-one school districts within the College district; unfortunately, ICN has not been able to allocate adequate bandwidth for the districts.



Granite City - Madison County


Granite City going wireless


Mayor Ed Hagnauer has announced that he and other city officials are negotiating with United Technologies Corporation and Network 1 Communications to turn all of Granite City into a wireless community.  Residents can expect to pay between $19.99 to $39.99, based on speed accessibility.  The Mayor hopes to have the services available by August or September. 

Highland - Madison County


Considering fiber-to-the-home as an alternative to the existing broadband service available from Charter.


A recent survey of local businesses and the 9000 Highland residents revealed a "high level" of interest in bringing another carrier to the area.


Highland City Manager Mark Latham this week was expected to present the city council with a proposal that the city build and operate a fiber optic Internet network offering triple-play (voice, data and video) services. The network is expected to cost about $9 million over five years. Council members approved a $25,000 feasibility study.


excerpted from



Contact: http://www.highlandilnews.com/index.html?0.6603848297585938


Highland City Manager, Mark Latham at mlatham@highlandil.gov or Jim Nickerson at jim@highlandilnews.com

The Highland City Hall telephone number is 618.654.9891.

The Highland City Hall address is 1115 Broadway, Highland, IL  62249.


Homer - Champaign County



Herrin - Williamson County



Kankakee - Kankakee County




With a $17,000 starting investment, $3000 in advertising sponsorships and the support of Mayor Green, city government and the local newspaper formed WiFi Kankakee LLC to bring Internet access to ~405 acres of downtown Kankakee and the River-road areas using 27 D-Link WiFi antennas, each about the size of an LP record, mounted on city-owned light poles. Each "access point" site costs less than $1,000. The network offers 15 free hours per month to anyone; beyond that, users can pay ~$20/month, without a contract, for unlimited access.


WiFi Kankakee covers residential areas, parks, stadiums, and high-rise buildings. Noteworthy installations include the Crestview Apartments and East Court Village. At Crestview, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc., a non-profit low-income housing developer, contributed $10,000 to provide free Internet to 132 apartments (home to more than 300 children). In East Court Village, a senior citizen high-rise, 30 residents logged on in the first two days. Continued expansion of the network is planned.


Mt. Vernon - Jefferson County




With a $20,000 grant from the Lt. Governor, Mt. Vernon Main Street contracted with Slingshot Wireless to mount 4 Tropos wireless broadband nodes on Ameren light poles. Local entrepreneur John Scrivner, president of MtVernon.net, negotiated a pole attachment agreement with Ameren and a right of use contract with the city. His company maintains the wireless broadband cloud, which blankets roughly 200, mostly small business and government offices. A captive portal sends all network connections to a “home page” (http://downtownmtvernon.com/) designed to promote Main Street events and businesses. Daily, weekly and monthly Internet access is available for a fee, while access to the “home page” and two local newspapers -- the Register News and the Morning-Sentinel -- is free.

Marshall - Clark County




The City of Marshall conducted a feasibility study to evaluate the potential to develop a broadband telecommunications network that optimizes existing infrastructure and resources.

Naperville - DuPage & Will Counties


Citywide WiFi fails to emerge in Naperville, Aurora




Impressed with the progress of neighboring Aurora in establishing citywide wireless, the City Council voted in July of 2006 to approve a five-year contract with MetroFi to provide broadband WiFi at no cost to the city. 18 by 12 inch transmitters will be mounted to the mast arm of about 500 of Naperville’s 5,000 street light poles. MetroFi will offer ad-supported free Internet service in exchange for utility pole attachment rights from the city. Ad-free access will be available for $20/month. MetroFi has developed similar city-wide wireless networks in Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara, CA and Portland, OR.

Naperville's telecommunications manager Dan Voiland said Wi-Fi could go live in the pilot area on Sept. 14.


MetroFi contact: Denise Graab.


Naperville Wi-Fi Network Up and Running Again

via MuniWireless by Esme Vos on 6/9/09

Naperville, Illinois has turned on its downtown Wi-Fi service again after network owner, MetroFi, shut down last year. The city decided not to dismantle the network; instead, they got a local provider named WOW Access to take over the network and reactivate the service.

Click on the graphic to see the area covered by Wi-Fi:



Normal - McLean County


Led by Mayor Pro-tem Sonja Reese, Normal developed a five-year broadband plan. According to the it, a wireless mesh will connect the Town's mobile computers and handheld devices for paperless work orders, data collection, inventory and traffic management, and more. Digital in-vehicle video recordings and live video streaming will be powerful public safety tools. Sophisticated mapping applications will be enhanced in its Geographic Information Systems. Wireless service should start in Uptown in 2008. If need and grant funding both exist, expanding wireless access would be considered. Meanwhile, Normal will participate with neighboring municipalities and the county in planning for community-wide access. (See the technology plan at http://www.normal.org/gov/it/index.asp for details.)


*Northbrook - Cook County

North Lawndale, Chicago's west side - Cook County



Uses CUWiN Technologies.


A project of the non-profit Center for Neighborhood Technologies, the network is managed out of the Honan Square Community Center. 

Peoria - Peoria County




Peoria Wireless is raising money for a feasibility study that would be conducted by the Peoria Chamber of Commerce to determine if a citywide wireless network would be feasible for the community. Once the group raises $40,000, the study was projected to end by early summer 2006, but cost estimates were between $3.5 - $5 million. City officials are eyeing the public-private partnerships planned for Boston, San Francisco and Milwaukee. Could a Peoria wireless network eventually play a role in the larger Tri-County Area network covering roughly 600 square miles?

*Pilsen, Chicago's Lower West Side - Cook County



Uses CUWIN Technologies.


WCN broadcasts a wireless signal for a two-block radius from the Gads Hill Center. Participating families receive free computers. Sponsored by the Center for Neighborhood Technologies.

Princeton - Bureau County




Following a successful test deployment of BPL to 15 customers, Princeton’s municipal electric utility has begun to extend the service to the entire city. In early 2006, Princeton and its commercial partner Connecting Point Computers, began registering customers for BPL service. 20 customers signed on in the first month, at $25 per month for 768 kbps download speeds and $40/month for 1.5 Mbps downloads. Once fully operational, they hope to serve 700+ homes.




Stoked by demand for even faster service, the city began offering a shared Fiber-optic hookup to up to 20 businesses. It will be priced the same as the business-grade BPL service. The city installed a 12-mile fiber optic loop in 2003 to attract industrial development when faced with rapid factory closures. In response, the incumbent cable and phone-based Internet providers upgraded their systems and lowered rates.

Quincy - Adams County




With a $20,000 grant from the Lt. Governor, Quincy Main Street contracted with local tech consultant Eric Thomas, president of ETC Computerland to offer free wireless Internet service through 9 blocks in Washington Park. Free service extends to the heart of the central business district as well. One wireless broadband node is mounted on a storage building, and plans are underway to expand the free service to Clat Adams Park and to the Mississippi Riverfront. This will require placing nodes on the Riverhouse Restaurant and the Austin & Associates buildings.


2/8/08 Update:


 After placing a new node on the Riverhouse Restaurant, a portion of Clat Adams has been active for a couple months. The project team still plans to extend access to the Riverfront.

Rochelle - Ogle County




Rochelle Municipal Utilities deployed Strix Access/One(R) Network Outdoor Wireless System to provide service to business and residential customers. Residential customers pay $25 a month for service. RMU also offers free Wi-Fi in downtown Rochelle. They plan to offer public safety communications via the 4.9 GHz band, and will soon use WiMax (802.16) for high-speed backhaul.

*Rockford - Winnebago County




A partnership between local businesses, communities, 5G Wireless and Airpath Wireless, Regional Optic Cooperation Net is leveraging hundreds of miles of unused fiber-optics under northern Illinois and Iowa. They've begun with an eight square mile Wi-Fi network in Rockford, the state's third largest city, which will serve homes, businesses, schools and hospitals. Subscribers pay $240 ($20/month) for a one-year contract, or $28 without the contract; or $8/day.




Initially responding to crime levels in public housing quarters, the Rockford Housing Authority teamed with the Rockford Police Department to find a wireless and mobile surveillance solution. With funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city contracted Firetide to roll out the surveillance network, which consists of sixteen nodes containing a camera, battery, flashing blue light, and Wi-Fi antenna. The nodes communicate with separate relay nodes and with receiver units in police cruisers. In addition to the outdoor nodes, several units were placed inside the housing structures and in elevators.


Skokie - Cook County



Springfield - Sangamon County




AT&T signed a three-year contract with Springfield in late August 2006 to build a 25 square-mile wireless broadband network for homes and businesses. AT&T will provide a tier of free service, while offering higher-speed service for a fee. The city will pay $7,000-$8,000 per year for ??? The Springfield-AT&T plan awaits City Council approval.


As of September 2007, the deal is off.

Sumner - Lawrence County




With support from the Sumner City Council, Red Hill Wireless LLC, was established in late 2005 by two local military veterans to provide broadband access to city residents. The company has since expanded its service to areas within a 12-mile area surrounding the town. Both service areas have brought broadband access to homes that would normally have dial up access as their only choice for years to come. With 125 customers on their network, farms, city and rural residents now have access at rate starting at 256K and up to 1Mbps. Red Hill Wireless is seeking funding to extend service countywide. They also plan to build a mesh network to provide Wi-Fi access in Sumner.

Sullivan - Moultrie County



Tiskilwa - Bureau County




Steve Graham, a local entrepreneur, has been installing satellite broadband through Starband, one of three satellite providers competing in residential markets. Although this allows rural customers access to broadband Internet, the method has proved to be costly (installation - $500, monthly fee $50). Currently, there are two wireless providers in the area but because of geographic constraints many customers are not served. Satellite will always be good for very low-density areas, but will always be more expensive. Wireless can be brought into the areas with typical farm densities with relative ease. However, WISP’s have not ventured into low population density areas like Tiskiwa.

St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva (Tri-cities) - Kane & DuPage Counties



On August 20 2007, Geneva's city council signed a contract with Texas-based Meshlinx to put Wi-Fi transmitters on utility poles and public buildings throughout the city. The contract requires Meshlinx to cover the whole town. About 25 devices will be installed per square mile. Meshlinx will pay Geneva $36 per pole per year, and $600 per month for city property other than street poles and water towers. Free service will go up to 512 kilobits per second. 1 to 5 megabits per second service will cost $20 - $55 per month. Free service will not be ad-supported. Computer users may need a booster antenna at their homes or businesses to get a good signal inside. Meshlinx hopes city officials will buy service for city communications, such as police and public works messages. Meshlinx already has a contract with St. Charles and is targeting Batavia.




Plan to have public power utility install fiber-optic-based high-speed Internet access (also for municipal use) to their citizens, was resisted by SBC. While voters defeated the plan, the threat of competition encouraged SBC and Comcast to extend their broadband footprint in the area.



Peter Collins, Information Systems Manager, City of Geneva

Dale Meitzen, executive vice president of sales, Meshlinx

Vienna - Johnson County




Johnson County 2000, Inc., a not-for-profit Economic Development group was awarded a $50,000 grant from Delta Regional Authority to lay fiber-optic cable through an 80-acre industrial park. This is the first industrial park in the southernmost five counties to receive this type of infrastructure. Jackson-Hewitt, for example, is using a 25,000 sq ft building to serve their franchise operation for four different states. Part of their operation is a call-center that serves as technical support for all their representatives in the field. This infrastructure upgrade will allow them to expand service to other Jackson-Hewitt franchises across the country. Metropolis-based JMWalters Electrical Contractors will lay the fiber.


Johnson County 2000, Inc. hopes to see Massac, Union, Pulaski, and Alexander counties get similar grants in the future to connect all of the industrial parks.

*West Frankfort - Franklin County




Mesh network pilot project in West Frankfort to offer high-speed access to homes, businesses and other institutions. The West Frankfort network is broadcast from the John A. Logan College.

West Town, Chicago - Cook County


West town Special Service Area (SSA) #29 WIFI PROJECT


The West Town SSA is in the process of providing wi fi to a three mile stretch of Chicago Ave. on Chicago's northwest side. Also, Aldermen Manny Flores, Walter Burnett, Jr., Scott Waguespack and Billy Ocasio all support the project.


SSA commissioners, residents and businesses within the SSA, and OnShore (an Illinois-based systems integrator and software developer) community leaders want to “light up” a three-mile stretch of highly concentrated commercial and community areas with wireless broadband.

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