Broadband needed in underserved areas - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Broadband needed in underserved areas

MPC's "From Broad Shoulders to Broadband," a multi-media presentation, and "Access to Redevelopment," a report, both document the business case for better broadband service in Chicago's neighborhoods.

"As we rely increasingly on computers in manufacturing, design, financial services, retail, and technology, the ability to send enormous volumes of information is a requirement, not just a nice-to-have," says MPC Board member Craig Watson, CEO of Payment Engineering and co-chair of MPC's Technology Working Group, in "From Broad Shoulders to Broadband." The new multi-media presentation documents the small- and mid-size business need for broadband and was released by MPC on March 15, 2004.

From Broad Shoulders to Broadband features Craig Watson, CEO of Payment Engineering and co-chair of MPC's Technology Working Group. Image courtesy of Video One.

The presentation highlights companies — from Ford Motor Company in the Calumet area to Digital Kitchen, a high-end production and design firm in River North — that need broadband to expand their businesses.

While Ford is building a state-of-the-art supplier park, connected by Ford's private infrastructure, Digital Kitchen cannot obtain fiber at an affordable price and resorts to shippiing its digital tapes via overnight mail. 

Click here to launch "From Broad Shoulders to Broadband."

The multi-media presentation is based on a detailed report, Access to Redevelopment, released simultaneously.  The research finds that:

  1. Businesses throughout the city and in diverse neighborhoods are adopting new technologies and applications that demand high-speed connectivity.
  2. The current supply of broadband services is unevenly distributed throughout the city, resulting in significant areas of unmet demand.
  3. There are two levels of unmet demand:  "unserved" communities, without access to affordable low bandwidth solutions such as digital subscriber lines (DSL); and "underserved" communities, with insufficient access to fiber-level services.

The report maps businesses in unserved and underserved areas that lack sufficient broadband.  These areas include the North Park and the Belmont and Central Avenue neighborhoods on the North Side; West Town, Logan Square, and Little Village on the West Side; and Bronzeville, South Shore, Beverly, and Pullman on the South Side.

Click here for parts 1, 2, and 3 of the research report Access to Redevelopment .

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