Los Angeles to establish free citywide public Wi-Fi in the treacherous US market

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Los Angeles Contemplates A Plan For Free Citywide Wi-Fi | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

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There have been previous attempts at US local government establishing citywide Wi-Fi public Internet services but a lot of these efforts have been shut down or curtailed by, usually, state governments working at the behest of established local telephony and cable-TV companies.

The Los Angeles City Council are putting forward an idea to have a citywide public Wi-Fi network but are having to realise the practicalities like the tall buildings and were having to factor in the activity of the local telephony and cable-TV services. This is similar to Google establishing fibre Internet in Kansas City and a few other US cities in competition with the established telephony and cable-TV operators.

The issue that will have to be raised is that action at the federal level has to be taken by a strong government to allow right-of-way access for competitive Internet and telecommunications services. Here, I have seen the effect of the Carterfone hearing and the anti-trust investigation in to AT&T, which led to competitive telephony service, wearing off and the country falling back to uncompetitive Internet access with most areas having the choice between two operators working as a cartel.

What America needs to be educated about is infrastructure-level competition with concepts like local-loop or sub-loop unbundling, the operation of public Wi-Fi networks, implementing different media to provide competitive telecommunications access, virtual-network competition and other concepts. Here, they could observe what France has done to provide a lively telecommunications, cable-TV and Internet market that really is for the consumer.

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