Los Angeles Initiative To Deploy Citywide Gigabit Broadband Network With Free Wireless Access Hits Major Milestone

City Council Votes to Approve CityLinkLA Request for Participants.

Jun 10, 2015, 17:31 ET from Councilmember Bob Blumenfield

LOS ANGELES, June 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles City Council today approved a Request for Participants (RFP) to identify one or more providers to commit to deploying advanced wireline and wireless networks that can provide one gigabit broadband speed or more to residences and businesses. The RFP asks proposers to provide a free level of service, including free basic wireless services, and to complete build-out within the next five years.

The RFP was issued as part of CityLinkLA, the long-term initiative led by Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield to ensure that Los Angeles is among the most connected cities worldwide. The RFP received unanimous approval from Los Angeles City Council following remarks from supporters including Kenn Phillips of the Valley Economic Alliance and Norma Fernandez of EveryoneOn, a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the digital divide.

"In today's digital age, Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury. Today however, too many Angelenos do not have access to broadband, while many businesses and residents pay higher prices for slower speeds when compared to other global cities," said Councilmember Blumenfield, who chairs the Council's Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee. "Universal access to high-speed Internet is essential to the City's future economic competitiveness, and will drive Los Angeles' entertainment, tech and entrepreneurial activity. Free wireless Internet access will be a game changer in terms of helping to bridge the city's digital divide."

"More than 30 percent of our families in LA still don't have broadband Internet access. That presents real challenges in everyday life, from finding jobs to obtaining an education to participating in our City's social fabric," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Delivering digital infrastructure for access to the Internet is as important today as our other older infrastructure that delivers electricity, transportation, clean water, and lighted streets. This RFP makes City assets—real estate, strands of fiber optics, streetlights, and more—available to broadband providers, cellular operators, and new providers to continue the trend of faster speeds around LA and help us connect more of our residents, visitors, and businesses to the Internet."

"We've been in the 21st century for 15 years, it's time we move into the future," said Council President Herb Wesson. "I am confident that with the right partners we will be able to position Los Angeles as a global leader in connectedness."

"CityLinkLA was created to deliver the high-speed, high-quality and affordable Internet that Angelenos need and deserve. Our goal is to see that all Los Angeles neighborhoods have equal access to advanced communications networks, allowing residents and businesses to take full advantage of Internet capabilities. We have set a course for the City's technological future. We're looking for providers that share our vision and are ready to invest now," concluded Blumenfield.

To meet the needs of Los Angeles residents and businesses, the City is seeking proposals for networks that that deliver symmetrical speeds of one Gbps or higher and at prices comparable to similar services offered in other cities with gigabit service, such as Chattanooga, Tennessee and Austin, Texas. Additionally, proposers are 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.

"The CityLinkLA RFP pioneers a new model for municipalities that offers all providers – existing and new – unprecedented ability to upgrade and build networks in Los Angeles," said Ted Ross, Interim General Manager of the City's Information and Technology Agency, which is overseeing the RFP process. "The City will not be contributing taxpayer dollars toward network development; however we have done our homework and believe we have created an attractive package of assets and incentives that encourage providers to make this critical investment in Los Angeles."

Since Councilmember Blumenfield first introduced a measure to develop a citywide broadband and wireless network in July 2013, effectively establishing the initiative, City leaders have undertaken an extensive research process to arrive at this RFP. A Request for Information (RFI), issued in April 2014, collected feedback from potential bidders and the public provided clarity on necessary actions to take in creating a viable package. Efforts have also included studying deployment models developed by other municipalities and engaging every City department in identifying and mapping available City assets.

Key components 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. This includes 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.

A mandatory proposers' conference will be held on Thursday, July 16. Responses to the RFP are due to City Hall on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 2 p.m. The RFP is expected to be finalized and available to potential proposers no later than June 23, 2015.

About CityLinkLA

CityLinkLA is a City-led effort to ensure that every Angeleno can access advanced communications networks that provide high-speed, high quality broadband connections to the Internet, where Angelenos live, work and play, indoors and outdoors. Formerly the Los Angeles Community Broadband Network, the initiative was launched in 2013 by Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bob Blumenfield as a public-private partnership to promote innovation and contribute to a smarter, more connected, more livable and safer city. For more information, visit CityLinkLA.org.

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SOURCE Councilmember Bob Blumenfield