Wireless networking specialist Gowex announced it will offer free WiFi connections in Chicago, thanks to a network of more than 450 free WiFi hotspots deployed mostly downtown and in the central business district.
The company’s fourth WiFi City in the United States, after New York, San Francisco and Miami, is the third largest in the United States by population, home to 9.5 million inhabitants of the metropolitan area.
The service will be available in the main districts of the downtown area such as Lake View, Old Town, Cabrini-Green, Goose Island, De Paul, Streeterville, River North and in certain public spaces like parks at the north area.
A significant number of hotspots of the network are concentrated within Near West Side community, adjacent to the main business district of Chicago, known as the Loop, where government offices and the hub of the city’s public transportation system are located.
The area covered by the service is also home to some of Chicago’s most visited tourist attractions, including the Magnificent Mile, a tony stretch of Michigan Avenue filled with world-class shopping, the Art Institute of Chicago and Millennium Park.
Similar to Miami, San Francisco or New York, the key to the Gowex network development in Chicago has been the cooperation between different local actors and partners, both public and private that reinforced the business model and profit channels of the company.
Users will be able to access the network, which provides up to 1M bps in mobile devices and the WiFi roaming service and will be able to connect for free with the same username in any of the 86 WiFi cities the company runs.
“We are very proud of our contribution to make Chicago a hyper-connected WiFi City and a technological reference, comparable to New York or San Francisco,” Jenaro García, CEO of Gowex, said in a statement. “With this new project we continue to expand and strengthen our presence in the U.S., a strategic focus for the company due to its enormous potential amongst users and the possibilities offered by the advertising and technological development.”
In addition, the new wireless service will be a partner for mobile operators present in the city, allowing the data offloading through the WiFi hotspots in areas where the 3G and 4G networks are saturated.
The company noted Chicago’s mobile devices penetration is 57 percent and, according to a recent forecast made by Cisco, the mobile data traffic in the U.S. will be 18 times higher in 2016. The service could also benefit the city’s tourism industry—Chicago hosted more than 46 million visitors last year alone.
With the addition of Chicago as a new Wireless Smart City, the company continues to progress towards its goal of reaching the 600 major cities in the world in the next five years.