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.

2 Replies to “Villaraigosa Pledges CityWide Wi-Fi in 2 Years”

  1. I would like you to make a correction on your article. Mark Wolf is Assistant General Manager of Information Technology Services. Not the General Manager.

    Thank you

Leave a Reply