L.A. moves on plans to expand broadband access

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Officials in Los Angeles are reviewing proposals from vendors angling to help stand up the city’s municipal broadband program.

Whomever officials select will establish a citywide broadband network infrastructure for CityLinkLA, a five-year project to provide reliable Internet access to the estimated 30 percent of residents now living without it.

Jason Levin — a spokesman for Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who spearheaded the project with Mayor Eric Garcetti — told StateScoop that the goal of the program was to offer residents better access to educational resources and constituent services. And already other cities are taking note of L.A.’s plans.

“I know there’s been interest from municipalities in and around Los Angeles and other parts of the United States are interested in the model,” Levin said. “L.A. is pioneering a unique model.”

Both wired and satellite telecommunication carriers were eligible to offer bids, according to the request for participants, which closed last month. The solicitation said the city will provide the selected vendor low-cost land and office space, expedite the application process for major project components, and offer access to existing networks, like the city’s SmartPoles, under a long-term lease.

Levin confirmed more than one company had responded to the RFP.

These plans move forward amid other efforts to install faster Internet services in the city. Earlier this month, Google Fiber announced it was considering bringing its 1-gigabit Internet service to Los Angeles. The news came just a day after AT&T unveiled its own high-speed Internet service in the city.

AT&T submitted a proposal for CityLinkLA, which, if selected, it hopes to tie into its existing collaboration with the city, Kathryn Ijams, a spokeswoman for AT&T in California, wrote in an email.

“AT&T understands the City’s vision for a more connected Los Angeles and is excited about the opportunity to make the CityLinkLA project a success,” Ijams wrote. “We look forward to discussions with the City to determine how AT&T’s investments can help support the City’s goal of delivering advanced communications to where Angelenos live, work, and play indoors and outdoors.”

The city did not give details about how Google Fiber or AT&T’s Gigabit project may fit into the initiative. But in a release, Blumenfield said private sector efforts would complement CityLinkLA.

“Access to high-speed Internet is essential to the City’s future economic competitiveness, and will drive Los Angeles’ entertainment, tech, and entrepreneurial activity,” he said. “We welcome AT&T GigaPower and Google Fiber to Los Angeles, and look forward to continuing to push Los Angeles to become the world’s premier gigabit city.”

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Broadband, CityLink, Fiber, Gigabit, Google Fiber, Kayla Nick-Kearney, Los Angeles, Nick-Kearney, RFP, SmartPoles, SNAP, State & Local News, Tech News
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