The year and a half since the introduction of a measure that would bring free internet to the city of Los Angeles has been spent conducting "an extensive research process," but now that's finally done and the city is finally ready to take the next step, says a post on Councilmember Bob Blumenfield's site. Today, the LA City Council approved a Request for Participants and will soon begin the search to find a provider or providers who can bring the city one gigabit of speed—that's Google-fiber fast—or more at a low cost and a "free level of service" that includes basic wireless (probably not as speedy), and can do that all in five years, tops, says CBS LA.
The efforts are an attempt to bridge the digital divide, meaning the economic barriers to internet access, which is now an essential part of daily life and work (which you know, duh). According to Mayor Eric Garcetti, as quoted on Blumenfield's site, about 30 percent of households in LA don't have any access to broadband Internet.
Internet providers who agree to serve one of the city's four quadrants (LA's so big, it was broken up into quarters for the request) will receive sped-up permits for installing infrastructure and deals on leasing city-owned property, like street lights where they could perch WiFi devices. City agencies including Metro and the Housing Authority have also offered to lease property that could be used for infrastructure to build out the citywide network. Teamwork!
The Request for Proposals will be open until November, at which point we will have a better idea of who our new internet overlords will be.
· Los Angeles initiatve to Deploy Citywide Gigabit Broadband Network With Free Wireless Access Crosses Major Milestone [Bob Blumenfield]
· City Council Takes Steps Toward Free Internet Access Throughout Los Angeles [CBS LA]
· Here's How LA's Citywide Free Internet Plan Would Work [Curbed LA]