LA's Wireless Plan Takes the Right Track
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior fellow for IT and telecom policy for The Heartland Institute.