CityLinkLA: Broadband Access for All

The City of Los Angeles has issued a Request for Participants to create public-private partnerships to Computerbuild a fiber-to-the-premises network that would offer gigabit-level speeds to residents and businesses at significantly lower prices than are currently offered by the largest incumbent providers. The RFP also seeks proposals for a Wi-Fi network that would offer services in densely trafficked and underserved areas throughout the City.

The City broadband deployment initiative is called CityLinkLA. Information about the CityLinkLA RFP can be found here. A proposers’ conference is scheduled for July 16, and RFP responses are scheduled to be submitted on Nov. 12.

While several cities have issued requests for proposals for deployment of FTTP and Wi-Fi networks, CityLinkLA is the largest effort in the U.S. to spur widespread deployment of wireline and Wi-Fi networks.

In contrast to the approach taken by some communities, Los Angeles is not seeking bids for a municipally owned network. It is seeking proposals from private providers willing to enter into contracts with the City to deploy advanced networks throughout Los Angeles. Among other things, the City developed a package of assets it will make available to selected providers intended to facilitate and speed up market entry and network deployment. Those assets include street light poles, fiber optics owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and city-owned real property that will be available for placement of buildings and equipment critical to network operation.

As part of their proposals, proposers are asked to submit plans for bridging the digital divide through the provision of a free level of services to the public, and free services to community computer centers. In addition, the City has developed streamlined permitting procedures that will make it easier for communications companies to enter the Los Angeles market, or to upgrade existing networks. The City is also conducting surveys regarding the demand for the project.

(BB&K attorneys assisted the City in the development of the RFP.)