updated 07:53 am EST, Wed November 6, 2013
City drafts proposal requests for widespread fiber network rollout
Citizens of Los Angeles could receive broadband or even a gigabit connection in the future, according to new plans. The Los Angeles City Council is drafting a request for proposals from companies to develop the network, which will require "fiber to be run to every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles."
The buildout, estimated to cost between $3 billion and $5 billion, reports Ars Technica, would be funded by the winning bidder, though the City Council could consider creating a fund to reimburse city departments required in the process of providing permitting and conducting inspections if bidders do not appear to be willing to pay for them on top of the project itself.
The new network will in theory provide free Internet access of between 2Mbps and 5Mbps to homes, with optional paid gigabit Internet tiers, and will also support Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas. Though the project only requires Internet and not landline phone services nor television, Los Angeles Information Technology Agency general manager Steve Reneker believes that the buildout could be justified by the company "being able to offer triple play packages" to customers.
The winning bid would also have to provide service to businesses, potentially to the city's 24 distributed data centers, and in one suggested proposal, offer cellular services. While the plan sounds like a good fit for AT&T and Verizon, the requirements for cellular service and data center hosting would rule out a number of extra vendors, including Google Fiber.
Despite the encouraging news, it will still be some time before the project goes underway. The City Council needs to vote and confirm the final proposal request once it has been drawn up, with bids then accepted for up to three months, between six and nine months of expected contract negotiations. After all of that, the lengthy buildout process can commence.