LOS ANGELES, CA – Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield this morning announced the release of a request for information, available immediately for comment and review, in a crucial step forward in his initiative to bring universal access to high-speed wired and wireless broadband to Los Angeles. By seeking feedback, not only from potential bidders and industry experts, but from the residents and businesses who will benefit from the service, Councilmember Blumenfield hopes to design a robust system that is truly reflective of the needs of our diverse communities.
Last July, Councilmember Blumenfield directed the City to design an initiative, now known as the Los Angeles Community Broadband Network (LACBN), to ensure every residence and business in Los Angeles has access to world-class, high-speed Internet access and wireless broadband. The next step will be an RFP to be issued later this year.
“By getting bidder and community input upfront, we are better able to design a system to meet the needs of consumers and businesses with a process that utilizes the free market for the benefit of all Angelenos,” said Councilmember Blumenfield. “From the public library, to the post office, to the telephone, universal access to information and communication has helped make our country great. The Los Angeles Community Broadband Network will lead the nation into the 21st century by applying that principle to the Internet.”
"The LA Community Broadband Network will be the largest municipal broadband network in the nation and will benefit a community that still has nearly a third of its residents without internet access or the ability to pay for it,” said Steve Reneker, General Manager of the City’s Information Technology Agency.
While some parts of Los Angeles do have access to high-speed broadband, approximately 30% of all Angelenos, and possibly more, either do not have access to broadband or cannot afford it.
"EveryoneOn applauds Councilmember Bob Blumenfield for leading this important initiative to improve access to high-speed Internet for all residents and businesses,” said Norma Fernandez, the Technology Adoption Officer at EveryoneOn, a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the digital divide. “No longer considered a luxury good, broadband connectivity plays a critical role in improving educational outcomes and stimulating business growth and employment. We are proud to support the City of Los Angeles as it begins this project."
Deputy Mayor Rick Cole was also on hand, joined by Peter Marx, the City’s Chief Innovation Technology Officer, to express the Mayor’s support for the project.
In addition to taking strides to close the digital divide, LACBN will allow the City to maintain global competitiveness, encourage competition and transparency, and foster economic and community development. Currently, in many cities nationally and internationally, internet access is available to residences at speeds up to 1 Gbps, allowing users to transmit and receive information nearly 200 times faster than inferior services offered to Angelenos as comparable or lower price points.
“Just as the accessibility of our roads, highways and bridges is crucial for the transfer of goods and services, so too our virtual highways and byways must be as swift and accessible as our physical ones,” concluded Blumenfield.
Members of the public can review the RFI and submit comment online at LACBN.lacity.org. Potential bidders are encouraged to submit comments at labavn.org. The deadline for questions from potential respondents is April 28, and submissions to the RFI are due June 9.