Chicago Burbs Eye Muni System


City councils in three Chicago suburbs will decide this month whether to let
their constituents vote on a joint municipal broadband system.

Votes are scheduled Jan. 13 in Geneva, Ill., population 19,000, and Batavia,
population 24,000, to approve an April ballot measure to get citizen support,
possibly for a tricity network to deliver cable, Internet and telephony
services. A third community's council, St. Charles, will vote Jan. 20.

Officials said the community broadband project is driven by a lack of
high-speed-data services, either to businesses or residences, and by
dissatisfaction with the local cable company.

Comcast Corp. has just taken over the local plant as part of its acquisition
of AT&T Broadband. That plant is currently in the midst of a rebuild, but
the company has yet to offer high-speed-data services.

SBC Communications Inc.'s Ameritech Corp. division provides telephone
services in the three communities.