The city wide wi-fi is a dead end. The story is about Sprint and ?? Clearwire ?? bringing in Wi-Max as an alternative to 3G (really 2 1/2 G) networks along with a wireless option for the last mile of wiring.
The benefits for the consumer (residential customer) is that you now have faster downloads. The service is an asymmetrical bandwidth option. So you can download information faster than you can upload. So if you were to have Netflix's movie download service, you could download a movie in 1/4th the time over wi-max than you could over your ISDN line.(Faster is possible if you pay more for the bandwidth.)
From a business side, you can get symmetrical service that would allow for 'larger pipes' and faster response without having to worry about the 'last mile of cable'. Its potentially a faster service for less money. There may be some drawbacks, but this is definitely a good thing if you're trying to set up an office here in Chicago.
The importance of this article is that the roll out in Chicago should have started 5 months ago. We would be the largest potential market to date for this service.
Were the city to offer 'free wi-max', it would be a good thing, however, there are issues with offering any 'free service'.(Or even a low cost offer.)
I don't believe that Chicago has the IT infrastructure in place to actually effectively roll any sort of 'free or low cost' offering. Having said that, I believe that we could do something down the road.