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Los Angeles could become the largest US city to offer free WiFi

Will Los Angeles become the country's biggest city to boast free, city–wide Wi–Fi? Such a plan may be in the works, based on recent discussions at a city hall meeting last week.

Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who heads up the committee on technology and innovation, has asked the city's Information Technology Agency to research how to set up a program as a way to help more Angelenos connect with the digital economy.

"We live in a world where success is increasingly tied to ability access to information," Southern California Public Radio reported him saying at the end of July. "Providing universal access to the Internet is a natural and necessary extension of these efforts."

But municipal Wi–Fi programs can be hard for cities to pull off––penetrating so many buildings requires a serious investment in hardware and antennae. Also, free Wi–Fi can be surprisingly controversial, CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman told SCPR, largely because telecommunications companies see it as a threat to their business and have lobbied against it for years.

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