The city of Los Angeles spans an area of 469 square miles, and houses a population of 3.8 million residents. Only New York City is more populated. So when the city of Los Angeles says it wants to offer free broadband to all of its residents, businesses and government entities — it's kind of a big deal.
L.A. has been threatening to offer this sort of service for a while now, but in a recent city council meeting, a vote was carried to move the plan forward to the next step of development. The city council has now begun drafting a request for proposals (RFP) which means that companies can soon begin vying for the contract that would connect all of la la land.
For whoever wins the contract, this will be no mean feat. At a projected cost of $3-5 billion, laying out hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable will require a veritable horde of technicians. And it's not just wired connections the city is after, either. The city is looking to create a network of free public Wi-Fi in all of its public spaces as well.
The best part of all this is that cable providers are expected to figure out how to foot the bill for their proposals themselves, without city funding. The expectation is that businesses and residences will get download speeds of 3-5Mbps for free, with paid tiers costing more. Free broadband will also likely contain ads. The city itself has stated that government entities will be requiring faster connections, and will be paying for such.
Historically speaking, we could be looking at about four months until Los Angeles closes the door on new proposals. There will likely be another six months of haggling with potential candidates thereafter, meaning that Los Angelinos could potentially see massive spools of fiber-optic cable and swarms of technicians driving down their streets within a year's time.