CHICAGO

Owned by: A (future) consortium of telecommunications companies.

Serves: City government, schools, hospitals and other community organizations,

as well as businesses and individuals.

Funded by: A public/private partnership. In a "shopping mall" arrangement,

a contractor pays for build-out and the city, as the anchor tenant, guarantees

a certain yearly income. Other potential "renters" pay monthly service charges

to use the network.

Status: A request for proposal will be issued this spring, with construction

to begin at the end of year.

Etc.: In a tight economy, the contractor may find it hard to get enough

money to build the infrastructure. To avoid delays, the city is looking

at raising part of the money through a revenue bond. The city's earmarked

$25 million would then be split — half going to pay back the bond and half

to guarantee the contractor a yearly return. This alternative funding model

could cut construction time from 10 years to five years.

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