Los Angeles Is Trying To Outdo Google By Bringing Free Internet To The Masses

Prepare to leave Starbucks you budding wordsmiths and screenwriters, Los Angeles is giving you back your legs!

The City of Angels, spearheaded by Los Angeles Information Technology Agency GM Steve Reneker, is in the process of undertaking an ambitious project to bring fiber based internet to all 3.5 million residents. It’s basically as if Oprah became the mayor and decided to unleash the gift hounds on the entire populace at once.

Free high speed is worth at least a car and a basket of scented lotions.

LA is expecting this roll out to cost $3-5 billion with proposals rolling out beginning next month that would require fiber to be run to every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles.”

The service would be offered in tiered plans, with the free tier speeds ranging from 2-5mbps and paid going as high as one gig. This network would also power Wi-Fi hotspots for public areas, easily trouncing a previous idea to use homeless people for such jobs.

This news is hot on the heels of Google announcing plans to expand their fiber service to Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas, joining Kansas City as premiere destinations for their fiber service inside the United States.

But Google is not currently in the running for these LA contracts due to their residential only plans:

“They would have to change their business model,” Reneker said of Google. “They only run residential. We’re requiring a component for the business. That would be a new market for them. There are two things: would they be willing to change their model slightly, and also would they be willing to respond to an RFP? I don’t believe they’ve responded to RFPs in the past in other communities, but they would need to here in Los Angeles.”

This opens the doors for other companies to step in to battle for contracts, possibly allowing for competitive pricing and a wider range of options for consumers.

Bu will we be able to reach Korean levels of speed? Doubtful. Infrastructure and geography are foes in the abilities of companies to expand internet service to the levels seen in South Korean.

And according to CNN, the competition is far more advanced in Korea allowing for lower prices and higher speeds. Throw in that 94% of the populace is online compared to 65% in the United States and you can begin to quantify the business behind it all.

This does open possibilities that such an undertaking could happen in major cities like Chicago and even New York City at some point. An urban sprawl would pose a new challenge, but plans could start sprouting up with Los Angeles as a template.

Of course we would have to pour one out for all of those witty network names unneeded in this future environment. A somber moment indeed.

Sources: CNN/The Verge/Ars Technica