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

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.