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Free Wi-Fi Internet Plan Aimed At 'Win-Win' For Public, Private Sectors

LOS ANGELES ( — A City Council committee was expected Tuesday to discuss a proposal that would provide free wireless Internet access throughout the city of Los Angeles.

The City Council's Innovation, Technology and General Services Committee will review a report from information technology experts on the feasibility of citywide municipal WiFi.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield introduced the motion in August that, if passed, would make Los Angeles the largest municipality in the U.S. to offer the service.

The city currently only offers free Wi-Fi at library locations.

Blumenfield told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that free wireless Internet access could potentially benefit local government, businesses and tourists alike.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield

"There's a lot of different ways to do WiFi, and in some of those different ways, some of those very [Internet Service Provider] carriers may stand to gain quite a bit, other ways they may not," Blumenfield said. "There may be a happy compromise here where there can be a win-win for both the public sector and the private sector."

One possible way to lure ISP carriers would be to potentially allow private firms to offer a commercial service to customers in addition to the free product in exchange for access to city infrastructure, Blumenfield added.

It was not immediately clear what cost - if any - taxpayers would incur for citywide Wi-Fi service.

A committee response to the proposal was expected to be issued in November.

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