Los Angeles approves RFP for planned 1 Gbps muni network that could cost $3B-$5B

Los Angeles' City Council approved a request for participants (RFP) to identify what service providers would be a good fit to deploy a 1 Gbps-capable network that could serve the city's residences and local businesses.

Part of the RFP asks responders to provide an additional free Wi-Fi service and be able to complete the network build within the next five years.

The RFP was issued as part of CityLinkLA, an initiative led by Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to make Los Angeles what they say will be one of the "most connected cities worldwide."

In order to reach its connectivity goal, the City has asked for network proposals that can deliver 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds or higher and at prices similar to what's offered in cities such as Chattanooga, Tenn., and Austin, Texas. Parties that present proposals are also asked to address the digital divide through provision of a level of free access to the Internet via wireline and wireless services, and services to targeted communities.

A number of entities unanimously supported the RFP. They included Kenn Phillips of the Valley Economic Alliance and Norma Fernandez of EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the digital divide, who made following remarks to the Los Angeles City Council.

Getting to the RFP point has been a two-year process that began in July 2013 when Councilmember Blumenfield first introduced a measure to develop a citywide broadband and wireless network. At that time, the city set a goal of attracting a large service provider like AT&T (NYSE: T) to run a network that will serve both residents and businesses. It estimated that the cost of this ambitious FTTH project would be in the range of $3-$5 billion. 

A number key elements of the RFP include streamlined permit processes for major telecommunications projects as well as identification and development of bulk rate prices for assets owned by the City and other agencies that could be used to speed deployment of broadband infrastructure. Some of this would include storm water drainage systems, street lights, and DWP's existing fiber network.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) and the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles have also identified property that could be used to deploy infrastructure, and Metro is offering to lease excess capacity on its own fiber network. Due to the size of the City of Los Angeles, for the purposes of the RFP the City has been divided into four quadrants and proposers may bid on one or more quadrants.

For more:
- see the release

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