L.A. To Launch Citywide Gigabit Internet With Free 5Mbps Tier

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News Posted: Thu, Nov 7 2013 10:14 AM
While Google rolls out its Google Fiber gigabit Internet service slowly and surely in Kansas City, Provo (UT), and Austin (TX), other companies such as CenturyLink, C-Spire, and AT&T have pledged to provide similar services. At least one city isn’t waiting for an ISP to take the reigns on a gigabit Internet rollout, though.

The city of Los Angeles is issuing an RFP, or request for proposals, for a citywide gigabit Internet service. The service will provide Internet access to “every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles”, or so said L.A. Information Technology Agency GM Steve Reneker to Ars Technica.

Hollwood Boulevard in L.A.
Hollwood Boulevard in L.A. (Credit: Diliff/Wikipedia Commons)

The winning vendor will need to absorb the estimated $3-$5 billion it will take to complete such a buildout and would be required to offer a free service tier of 2Mbps to 5Mbps (which might include advertising as a caveat) as well as power public hotspots around the city. The network must also be open, meaning the vendor would be able to function as a wholesaler to other service providers; that way, one ISP wouldn’t exactly have a monopoly on the city’s Internet service.

Although L.A. would not require that the vendor provides home landlines or TV service as Google Fiber does, Ars believes that such services will be part of the package, and it appears that the city will favor a company that can also handle cellular and data center capabilities. That limits the field in L.A. to most likely AT&T or Verizon.

The bid process, once the RFP goes out, is expected to take about three months while final negotiations with the winning bidder could take another six to nine months.
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RWilliams replied on Thu, Nov 7 2013 12:21 PM

This is amazing. Glad that those who might not be able to easily afford Internet will still have the option to have it.

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Internet should be something freely available rather than another costly bill, so I definitely approve of this. The more people that can get connected, the more informed they can become and overall better off.

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sevags replied on Thu, Nov 7 2013 3:06 PM

I live in LA and for many reasons this could end up being good or very bad for the city. First off I hope that not a single part of this infrastructure will be wireless it all better be wired to the end user. Then do they realize how massive LA is? Unlike other major cities LA is far more spread out and has a huge population so any free service would be greatly bogged down and the the question is would it bog down anyone on the payed tiers? And last why would they want only 1 company to win this contract? We aren't in Kansas anymore where the mighty google fiber can handle all residents they should be looking into 2-3 companies to offer gigabit internet in LA not just 1 that is going to share lines and resell/rebrand it's service with other providers. I hope their search AND research continues for another couple of years before anything drastic is done.

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Now it will just be one much HUGER bill for taxpayers, and, considering half the state pays no income taxes, those who do will be paying at least double the rates.

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Internet bandwidth en masse does not cost nearly as much as many individual users. And the taxes you pay would very likely not rise as much as you think, considering it would be divided by tens of millions of people.

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Honestly, I'd be more concerned with graft and 'administrative fees' by those who run it. Damned corruption is so rampant in this country, it's disgusting.

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when government tries to help or takeover ANY kind of service or product it is doomed. we need to keep government out of everything that isnt absolutely essential for a functioning country/state/city. leave all of this to the people and private industry, otherwise you get a bloated mess that barely functions (if at all).

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