Chicago -- Ameritech New Media has lit up its first
customers in Chicago, just four months after receiving a franchise to compete in the Windy
City's South Side.
The Americast programming service is now available in the
Chicago Lawn neighborhood, a section of the city stretching from 59th Street to 79th
Street and from Damen Avenue to Cicero Avenue. Ameritech competes there, the city's
franchise Area 5, with Tele-Communications Inc.
The next neighborhoods slated for buildout, in 1999, are
Ashburn, Beverly, Washington Heights and West Lawn.
In order to earn the franchise, Ameritech had to commit to
investments and hiring requirements that will benefit the largely minority community it is
entering. The telco will invest $45 million and bring 100 new jobs to its existing work
force. Further, it will award 52 percent of its vendor contracts to minority- and
women-owned businesses, a corporate goal, the telco said, which exceeds Chicago standards
by more than 20 percent.