Last fall, Culver City hired a consultant to develop a design and business plan for a possible fiber network project. Recently, prominent business leaders and parents of local school children have publicly expressed their support for a municipal network.
Culver City, also known as "The Heart of Screenland" is situated in west L.A. County, surrounded primarily by the City of Los Angeles. Approximately 39,000 people live in this community that is beginning to draw in the tech industry. In addition to Disney's Maker Studios, Apple owns Culver City's Beats Electronic, known for high-tech headphones. Culver City wants to stay current to compete with Santa Monica, home to a number of tech businesses that connect to its publicly owned City Net.
The L.A. Weekly reports billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of NantWorks, has encouraged city leaders to move forward with the project. His specific request is that five business districts be included in the network deployment. NantWorks, located in one of those districts, provides cloud-based operating systems to support telehealth. According to the article, Soon-Shiong is rallying other business leaders:
Soon-Shiong has been encouraging other business owners in the area to support the plan, which is expected to come before the City Council sometime in October.
"He feels this is key," said Mike Sitrick, a spokesman for Soon-Shiong. "He’s talked to various city officials and told them how important he thinks it is, not only to his business, but to attracting additional businesses to Culver City."
Local elected officials report positive feedback as the city reaches out to determine interest in the project:
"We're still attempting to gauge the degree of interest," said Councilman Andy Weissman, though he added, "I'm confident it's going to happen."
The business community is not the only sector in Culver City seeking better connectivity. The Front Page Online recently published an op-ed from the group United Parents of Culver City. Regarding Soon-Shiong's statement about the importance of the project, the President of the parents' organization writes:
We will take it a step further: This is key to the future of our schools, too.
Parents interested in technology issues are well aware that bandwidth limitations have created problems in our district. Those problems only will grow worse as technology becomes more integrated in the classroom environment and as online testing becomes more prevalent.