Why (and how) LA plans to become a "Gigabit City"

Wed, 2013-11-06 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

Please read the second paragraph of this article from Government Technology. That's where it's revealed that Los Angeles intends to provide "gigabit speeds to every home, business and government office within city limits."

Ladies and gentlemen -- this is now the table stakes. If you want to seriously contend as a great city to work and play, you *must* be on a path to get fiber to every building within the next few years. You cannot compete globally without it. We hope this story about Los Angeles will give you the inspiration to get your own gigabit plans in place. -- Jesse Berst

The article in Government Technology reports that in 2014 Los Angeles intends to find a vendor to install a $3 billion to $5 billion fiber network. One goal is to provide gigabit speeds to homes, businesses and government offices within city limits. But also to promote economic development.

Steve Reneker, general manager of the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency, told GovTech.com that LA is uniquely positioned as a large producer of audio and visual content and a fiber network could make it a leader in streaming audio and video and attracting more companies to the area.

The fiber initiative is part of a broader IT refresh – fixing operational issues that were neglected during the economic downturn, Reneker said.

LA, of course, isn't alone in wanting to bring super-fast Internet speeds to town. A recent post on the Future Cities site discusses some of the challenges cities face – and some of the innovative solutions they've settled on – to acquire gigabit service.

As Mary Jander concludes: "Gigabit Internet is clearly the future, and it's not all about entertainment. Medical applications, research, retail transactions, financial markets, and supply chain logistics will depend on fast web access. Hopefully, as early battles are fought and won in municipalities worldwide, obstacles will start to shrink or disappear. If they don't, and if companies and providers aren't willing to cede a bit of the field, nothing less than the future of our cities will be put at risk."


 Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.