Villaraigosa Pledges CityWide Wi-Fi in 2 Years

villaraigosa wireless municipal los angeles

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today declared “the start of Los Angeles version 2.0,” announcing a plan to roll out what would be the largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the country.

Bidding for the project may begin as soon as this fall with a target of mid-late 2008 construction and early 2009 completion. It could cost up to $60 million to cover Los Angeles’ 470 square miles, city IT assistant general manager Mark Wolf told the Times, which, by my calculation, amounts to around $15 or so per capita (few, if any, tax dollars will likely be involved).

Municipal WiFi is a no-brainer for Los Angeles, with an economy bolstered by a tech and entertainment industry that will no doubt be gratefully attracted to such a system, while bridging the digital divide. “On a practical level, this means providing integral, high-speed solution for entertainment companies to juggle simultaneous projects in real-time at lower cost with reliable teleconferencing, for example,” said Villaraigosa.

Philadelphia’s mu-fi project appears to be going well after a slow start ($21.95/mo or $9.95 and Houston today became the largest city to sign on a carrier (Earthlink).

SF announced their wifi ambitions in 2004 and its still not certain when it will be fully operational — perhaps the way will have been paved for LA by ’09.

Read the full presser at MuniWireless. More at LAist.

Other LA metro wifi spots live and/or in development include:

* Culver City (the first in the LA metro)
* 17 wireless access points along the promenade, at city hall and by the end of May, Santa Monica Pier and the civic auditorium.
* 1 square mile +/- of wifi in Downtown Burbank (via Qwest DSL and access points aimed at a large hillside satellite)
* West Hollywood Public Wifi — along Santa Monica Blvd between Fairfax and La Brea.
* Anaheim (right now at $21.95/mo. – similar to PHilly except not sure if it has the lower-rate plans)
* Newport and Laguna Beach Harbors (up to a few miles out at sea)

Further reading:

* Ars Technica on the pros and cons of muni wifi.
* Worldchanging on the politics of municipal wireless.
* Muni Wifi notes and legislation.
*
Free Press — Community Internet.

photo by Eric Richardson via flickr.

Interview With Jailed Journalist Josh Wolf

josh wolfVideoblogger Josh Wolf has been imprisoned for longer than any journalist in history. He is also featured in (I believe week two) of the PBS Frontline series News War, which begins tonight.

Video blogger and independent journalist Josh Wolf has been in a federal jail for 171 days for refusing to turn over to a federal grand jury a video of a San Francisco demonstration. On Feb. 6 Wolf’s length of incarceration set a new record for US journalism. “Democracy Now!” has an interview with Josh Wolf from his jail cell. If federal authorities can jail bloggers with impunity, it does not bode well for the future of citizen journalism.

via slashdot.

read related posts.

Fun With FineTune

I’ve been broadcasting via Live365 since 1999, as many of you know, but it’s always fun to check out new toys. FineTune invites you to choose a 45 song playslist — and they’ve got access to lots of songs in fact. It takes forever, however, to choose an entire setlist, and since I’m busy, I only picked about 12 songs and let it automatically choose the rest (basically more songs from the same artists I had already chosen. Below you’ll see how your customized setlist is embedded onto your blog.

I’d have to say this takes the participatory recommendation listening formula of Pandora a big step further. You can recommend stuff, say what you like and discover similar music that you haven’t heard before. But you can make your own mix and spread it — a bit like Last.fm but more advanced.

I still don’t understand exactly how royalties are counted for these systems — I know Live365 has a base rate that they pay and which I chip in towards as a station operator. But, like Last and Pandora, Finetune is free.

See ZDNet
for more on the dev specs of finetune.

TechCrunch recently summarized the pros and cons of all the latest social music players.

Thanks to Whitney at PopCandy for the suggestion — after all, she did it first.