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RECAP: Infrastructure Task Force Convening | June 30, 2021

Updated: Sep 2

Infrastructure Task Force Objective

Finding barriers and opportunities to complete high-quality broadband infrastructure deployment to all residents and businesses, especially in unserved and underserved communities



Summary

The Infrastructure Task Force held its second meeting on June 30, 2021, and included representatives from multiple sectors interested in resolving the digital divide in the Los Angeles County region. Taskforce members reviewed the common themes that emerged during the first meeting, received an update of broadband-related state legislation, and shifted the conversation towards the five common themes that arose in the first meeting.



Action Items

  • Add Unfavorable Economics as an additional focus for the workgroup

  • Need for public assets inventory of current municipalities permitting process, project identification, support, and standard-setting.

  • Data challenges and need for asset mapping to fully identify service gaps/areas under-served

  • Departments of Public Works are developing procedures for small cell facilities when documents become available - the task force will consider working on an ordinance.


Resources


Meeting Notes


The task force ensued in a rich conversation associated with permit-related issues that included:

  • Fees and coverage areas throughout the 88 LA County cities

  • Allowable techniques - micro-trenching effectiveness

  • Existence of/or interest in public/private partnerships

  • Broadband elements in General City Plans -- this will be critical to determine readiness for rapid rollout

Jamboard captured feedback in addition to ongoing discussion:


Broadband elements in General Plans, Ordinances, Master Plans, Economic Development Plans (examples, concerns, timeline for general plan development).

  • The majority of the 88 municipalities do not have broadband ordinances in their general plans. This is of concern if jurisdiction broadband efforts are counterproductive to federal regulations or towards expediting.

  • Tech neutrality allows for a variety of solutions

  • Data challenges without asset mapping--understanding at a more granular level where there are service gaps/areas under-served, it is difficult for plans to make sense

  • LA County, via the Department of Regional Planning, is preparing a wireless ordinance and will host workshops throughout the summer.

  • Concurrently the Department of Public Works is developing procedures for small cell facilities.

  • Implications on city and staff capacity and lack of broadband knowledge to incorporate into general plans and also capacity issues--prevalent issue impacting cities of all sizes


Allowable techniques-innovative strategies for deployment include micro-trenching, which reduces cost versus open-trenching- which may support existing unfavorable economics projects previously discussed.

  • The restoration fee increased by 1000% in the City of LA only - cost-prohibitive and need to engage with city staff to understand reasoning better


The following are specific permit issues related or best practices examples of permits to share with municipalities:

  • The patchwork framework varies by city, complicating advocacy (policies, procedures), and is a heavy lift convincing cities to adopt an ordinance.

  • Council of Governments coordination and financial incentives -- extend the invitation to cities.

  • Long Beach City - 16 miles of real fiber would have required 100 workers - Crown Castle worked with the city focused on the inspection process - issued a term permit that allowed the 16 miles with one permit - paid inspector daily and completed the project within six weeks -- being considered by South East LA. A best practice would be to consolidate permits to decrease the burden on cities.


The task force recommended adding unfavorable economics that hinders the reduction of cost. This would be to identify contribution models when this occurs. The task force agreed to add.


The Infrastructure Task Force meets virtually monthly and includes health, nonprofit, education, business, city municipalities, and internet service providers. To learn more, visit: ladeal.org/events.


Meeting #3 is scheduled for July 28, 2021.





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