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Los Angeles moves forward with proposal for free citywide broadband

Alexis Santos

Los Angeles has been knocking about the idea of free citywide WiFi for several months, but now those thoughts have coalesced into something more concrete. Today, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously decided to draft a RFP (or request for proposals) for businesses interested in developing that network. Building such a project "would require fiber to be run to every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles," LA's Information Technology Agency GM Steve Reneker told Ars Technica. It's expected that the fiber will also supply residents with free internet access at speeds between 2Mbps and 5Mbps, with paid plans scaling up to a gigabit. Naturally, the city expects the effort will bring free or affordable WiFi to kids who've scored iPads through the school district. The entire scheme is expected to cost $3 billion to $5 billion, but the outfit that builds the network will have to foot the bill. However, don't start packing your bags for the City of Angels just yet, as choosing and a company to build-out the whole shebang and associated negotiations could take up to a year.

[Image credit: Todd Jones, Flickr]

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