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CRA Looks to Expand Downtown WIFI

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, January 04, 2007, at 08:02AM

Both LA Voice and Curbed LA picked up yesterday on a press release saying that CRA is looking to expand their ExperienceLA wifi coverage. The release specifically mentions new coverage in the Angel's Knoll park (4th and Hill) and Little Tokyo (update: Coverage would be wider. These spots are targeted for cameras). Of the $225,000 that CRA is looking to get approved, over half of that will be spent on the ExperienceLA.com website.

The WIFI at Pershing Square launched in April of 2005, but I'd have to imagine usage is very low, particularly usage from inside the park. Pershing Square -- save for when it's hosting ice skating -- is one of the least hospitable places Downtown to sit with a laptop.

Curt Gibbs of the CRA has been a relentless proponent of expanding their WIFI coverage Downtown. For a while now he's been pushing the idea of selling the expanded coverage by piggybacking other uses on top of the free Internet access. The release mentions using the network for security cameras and tying those back to LAPD, so it seems Curt might be getting some buy-in there.

I love the idea of free WIFI, but someone needs to be tackling the problems of making the access points more friendly at the same time as you make them connected. It's no good to have a signal if it's not a comfortable place to sit down for a half hour.

Update (9:30am): After posting this I noticed the actual CRA letter to City Council (PDF), so more after the jump...

An attachment in the letter shows a rough map of deployment points. Coverage would appear to be extended to blanket the area bounded by 6th, Grand, 2nd and Spring. Additionally a spur would go along the 2nd / 3rd street corridor to cover Little Tokyo.

A pair of access points appear to also cover the park space at the Central Library, which to me would be the most exciting thing to come out of this. There's also a point at Grand and 2nd that I'd hope would cover the garden on top of Disney Hall. We'll have to see about that, though.

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