LA: City-Wide Free WiFi By 2009

From the LA Times:

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa outlined plans Tuesday to blanket Los Angeles with wireless Internet access in 2009, in what would be one of the nation’s largest urban Wi-Fi networks.

The L.A. Wi-Fi initiative would give Los Angeles residents, schools, businesses and visitors uninterrupted high-speed Internet connections — for work, research, Web browsing or even phone calls.

Hmm, do you hear that? That’s the sound of telcos quietly weeping.

“Verizon, which once joined cable giant Comcast Corp. to try to curtail Philadelphia’s wireless project, no longer stands in the way of municipalities.

“We urge cities to be cautious investing taxpayer money in such a venture where technology is changing rapidly,” said Verizon spokesman Jonathan Davies.”

Is the LA project feasible? One roadblock cities have encountered on the way to free WiFi nirvana is the need to place wifi equipment on electric poles. Southern California Edison doesn’t allow use of its poles. LA, however, owns its electric poles, meaning free (possibly ad-supported) WiFi may be closer than you think. —MEGHANN MARCO

L.A. mayor wants citywide wireless access [LA Times]

[Photo by Dave Bullock]