LA WATCHDOG-Google Fiber announced that it is expanding its offering of its ultra high speed fiber optic network to 34 cities in nine metropolitan areas (see below) around the country.
Unfortunately, the City of Los Angeles was not invited to participate despite its lame efforts to the contrary.
This fiber optic network, which runs at a speed 100 times faster than the typical broadband connection, would be a-dream-come-true for our tech savvy, back to basics mayor. It would be an “economic catalyst” for our notoriously business unfriendly City, providing us with the digital infrastructure that is now enjoyed by less than 8% of the country. It would create numerous jobs, not only from the multiyear build out of the system and its ongoing operations, but from existing companies looking to grow, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, start ups, and home based enterprises that view a high capacity system as a basic necessity - or at least as an extra added attraction.
However, our cash strapped City does not have the capacity to finance this project with an estimated cost of $2 billion. Nor does LA have the management to make sure that this complex undertaking comes in on time and on budget. Nor does our City have the human resources, organizational structure, or mindset to manage a highly sophisticated, high tech, capital intensive, multibillion dollar a year enterprise that would interface 24 hours a day with the City’s business community and its four million residents.
Google has the financial and management wherewithal to make this happen. But Google Fiber is not an eleemosynary endeavor, but a for profit venture. As such, it has established a “checklist” for each community to insure that the fiber optic network will be built on an expedited basis without needless bureaucratic and legal delays. This will involve the pre approved use of existing infrastructure such as utility poles and underground conduits; the access to information about existing water, gas, and electricity lines to facilitate the planning process; and the establishment of an expedited permitting process to eliminate needless lawsuits, shakedowns, and costly delays.
The major reason why the City of Los Angeles was not even considered as a candidate is because of all the uneconomical demands and political agendas of the City Council and their politically correct cronies who view the fiber optic network as just another cash cow, much like the beleaguered Ratepayers of our Department of Water and Power. Rather than appreciate the business and financial needs of Google Fiber, the City took the attitude in its poorly conceived presentation that Google Fiber should be honored to do business with the second largest city in the country.
Obviously, the financial wizards and organizational geniuses who occupy City Hall do not know the Golden Rule: She who has the gold makes the rules!
If the City were to enter into a deal with Google Fiber (or any other company), there will no doubt be howls about “corporate welfare” and the widening of the “Digital Divide” between the haves and the have nots.
In this case, the “corporate welfare” is not massive tax breaks to the likes of AEG and the NFL, the $64 billion Westfield Group, or the new downtown Marriott. Rather, the City is being asked to use its best efforts to facilitate a timely build out of this $2 billion infrastructure project that has the potential to serve as an “economic catalyst” for the whole City.
As for the Digital Divide, if the City does not develop a fiber optic network, the real Digital Divide will be between the City of Los Angeles and its 4,000,000 residents and the rest of the world.
The development of a high speed fiber optic network is very important for the future of our City. We need an open and transparent process led by our tech savvy, Back to Basics mayor and his office, where the City realizes that we need Google Fiber more that Google Fiber needs the City.
Eric, the ball is in your court. Don’t blow it.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: email@example.com. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.)
In addition to Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, Google Fiber has existing relationships with Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. It is looking to expand to 34 cities in nine metropolitan areas.
Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe
San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto
Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, Smyrna
Charlotte, Carrboro, Cary
Raleigh Durham, Chapel Hill, Garner, Morrisville,
Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Tigard
Salt Lake City
Vol 12 Issue 18
Pub: Feb 28, 2014