Educational and economic opportunities depend on affordable, high-speed internet access. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated and magnified these existing disparities, even within the same city. The University of Chicago is piloting a project to study fiber connectivity, broadband throughput, application performance metrics, pricing data, and information about subscriptions and affordability to understand Chicago communities' access to affordable, high-speed internet.
The team is working with technical and civic partners to design and evaluate new network architectures for improving connectivity in neighborhoods and regions that are sparsely connected. The project’s goal is to create a complete assessment of a city’s broadband infrastructure that can be used to investigate innovative infrastructure solutions.
Raising awareness about this critical issue, the project aims to empower policymakers, industry leaders, and the public to make better and more informed decisions as to where and how they invest in infrastructure. This project has the potential for tremendous impact in Chicago while supporting SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Industrialisation).