Despite the criticism he has received, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made the right decision to put Los Angeles’s municipal wireless service up for competitive bid (“Bad reception for free Wi-Fi,” Feb. 19). Competition will assure a qualified provider finances the system and is accountable for its performance. City residents will benefit from a new broadband competitor without risking their tax dollars.
LA’s plan follows the example of other major cities nationwide who have embraced private-sector solutions after seeing experiments in municipal-funded broadband networks turn into costly white elephants.
However, the city should avoid an exclusive deal with one service provider and take a page from neighboring Anaheim by agreeing to make light poles and other city infrastructure available to all wireless providers for a uniform right-of-way fee.
Steven Titch ([email protected]) is senior fellow for IT and telecom policy for The Heartland Institute.