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Does L.A. Really Want Citywide WiFi?

The City of Los Angeles is considering building out a citywide Wi-Fi network. It's a good idea, but rumor has it that they are considering an anchor tenant model, similar to what Earthlink tried to be in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Anaheim and a few other cities. The model, which some former execs I know from Earthlink were not in favor of from the start, is fraught with the challenge of one backer who wants to be both the builder and then the manager which operates and maintains the network.

I'm much more in favor of the multi-tenant model that exists in France where the operations costs are shared by mobile and fixed line operators, who in turn provide access to their customers. In Los Angeles this type of model would be thus open to the likes of Time Warner and Comcast to market to their customers as well, much like what they are doing elsewhere. 

Given the size of Los Angeles, one also has to wonder if the whole City needs to be lit up, or if it would make more sense to build out the city and county in stages, where they gauge adoption, behavior and usage.


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