LA City Council Moves Forward With Plans for Free Citywide Wi-Fi

The Los Angeles City Council are requesting proposals from companies exploring the possibility of providing free Wi-Fi citywide

By Andrew Lopez
|  Wednesday, Nov 6, 2013  |  Updated 10:04 PM PDT
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Free Wi-Fi in Los Angeles has been a lofty ambition for nearly a decade. The city council revisits the issue questioning the cost of the endeavor.  Mekahlo Medina reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Wednesday November 6, 2013.

Mekahlo Medina

Free Wi-Fi in Los Angeles has been a lofty ambition for nearly a decade. The city council revisits the issue questioning the cost of the endeavor. Mekahlo Medina reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Wednesday November 6, 2013.

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The Los Angeles City Council took a significant step forward during Tuesday’s meeting in providing its residents with free citywide Wi-Fi, officials said.

The city’s Information Technology Agency was directed via a unanimous vote to draft a request for proposals from companies interested in creating the service that one councilman said could lead to job creation.

"The benefits to the city from universal access to broadband are numerous," Councilman Bob Blumenfield said in a statement. "In particular, wireless internet access will help bridge the digital divide while generating economic development and making our city even more friendly to visitors."

City officials said the drafted requests will aim to keep city costs down by creating incentives for potential partners and leveraging city assets.

Blumenfield introduced the wireless broadband initiative in July, and if the project comes to fruition, Los Angeles would be the largest city in the United States with free universal access to wireless broadband, officials said.

A previous Wi-Fi initiative in Los Angeles was abandoned nearly five years ago, officials said.

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