In 2007, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a plan to provide free wireless Internet access throughout the city's 498 square miles by 2009. He said the initiative was "not going to be a study to put on the shelf," according to the LA Times, but now, two years after not reaching the goal, one private company has begun to fill those shoes on its own.
Time Warner last month unveiled a $15-million dollar Wi-Fi Network to provide free wireless Internet access to their customers in some Los Angeles and Orange county areas.
For non-customers, however, the rates are $2.95 for one hour, $6.95 for a day, $19.95 for a week or $49.95 for a monthly plan. The Wi-Fi plan provides coverage to West Hollywood, Venice, downtown Los Angeles, Newport Beach and Santa Ana. Time Warner plans to expand into more areas of Los Angeles as installation continues.
"I think it's great that Time Warner provides Wi-Fi to their customers because we need the Internet all the time," said Larry Dechant, a customer residing in West Los Angeles. "But it's not providing for where I live, and I hope that they expand to my area soon."
In the city of Mountain View, Google provides Wi-Fi to the entire public.
"The city of Milpitas and Mountain View have installed nodes in the city streets that magnify the free Wi-Fi from Google," said KC Johnson, who was a resident of both cities and now lives two miles outside of Milpitas. "There's free Wi-Fi all over both cities."
Arika Sato is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.