Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Valley councilman wants to install free Wi-Fi citywide

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How might a newly installed L.A. City Councilman from the outer reaches of the San Fernando Valley quickly make his mark?

How about by proposing to equip the entire city of Los Angeles with free wireless Internet.  

Councilman Bob Blumenfield chairs the Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee. His proposal would make Los Angeles the largest city in America to implement a Wi-Fi program.

"We live in a world where success is increasingly tied to ability access to information," Blumenfield said. "Los Angles has already made great strides towards enhancing government openness through technology, from live simulcasting of council meetings to the MyLA311 mobile application. Providing universal access to the Internet is a natural and necessary extension of these efforts.”

A cost estimate on Blumenfield's proposal was not immediately available. 

Six years ago, then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a similar plan. The Los Angeles Times estimated it would cost $54 million to $62 million to implement such a network. The citywide wireless network never happened, even though Villaraigosa promised the proposal was "not going to be a study to put on the shelf."

Los Angeles currently offers Wi-Fi in its libraries, airport and parts of City Hall. 

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