The news that Los Angeles is planning a gigabit fiber network to connect every business and home within the city limits is a further demonstration of the vital importance of high speed broadband in today’s society.
LA has announced that next month it will issue a request for proposals. The city is looking for a vendor to build the entire infrastructure themselves (without public subsidy), and then offer free internet access at between 2-5 Mbps to all, charging a fee for higher connection rates of up to 1 gigabit per second. The same fiber network would also power Wi-Fi hotspots in public areas. It would cover an area of nearly 500 square miles with 3.5 million residents.
Municipalities across the US are increasingly looking at rolling out fiber networks, as they realize the positive impact it has on the local economy, in attracting new citizens and businesses and in enabling the digital delivery of public services. As well as the success of Google Fiber’s deployments in Kansas City many urban areas have invested in either commissioning or building out their own networks. Some, like Santa Monica, have adopted a piecemeal approach, installing new fiber or conduit every time they dig up the streets, while others, such as Chattanooga in Tennessee have gone for a single, city-wide deployment. In the case of Chattanooga, EPB, the community owned electricity utility installed and runs the network, charging customers for broadband access and other services.