The competitive landscape of California’s Los Angeles County prompted the fifteen member cities of the South Bay Council of Governments (SBCOG) and the South Bay workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) to explore opportunities to boost economic development through advanced telecommunications infrastructure. In 2016, the SBWIB sponsored and economic and workforce development study managed by the SBCCOG who engaged Magellan to develop a workforce development and jobs retention study based upon a new tech economy. The study included a fiber optic master plan, which contained recommendations to expand broadband infrastructure throughout the region.
Costs and performance of available internet services within many of the South Bay cities are not competitive enough to attract and retain industries and employers utilizing high income jobs that support the high costs of housing in the region. While lower cost, higher speed internet services would do much to boost economic development, the costs and efforts needed for each individual city to invest in its own fiber optic infrastructure was too much to bear. Rather, by taking a regional approach, costs and resources can be shared for benefits that will reach across all the communities, stimulating economic development, job growth, government innovation, Smart City and IoT.
The fiber optic master plan commissioned by SBWIB and completed by Magellan in 2016 laid out a blue-print for a regional fiber optic network, SMART Net, to connect government facilities and offer high-speed internet to the businesses and anchor institution community. Upon the plan’s completion, SBWIB and SBCCOG requested Magellan’s services in developing a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit interest from potential partners. Response to the RFP was strong; 17 telecommunications providers submitted proposals and Magellan worked with SBWIB and SBCCOG to evaluate which of the responses would best align with the goals of the region.
With Magellan’s continued assistance, negotiations for the construction, operations and maintenance of the South Bay regional SMART Net network are now underway. Costs and resources will be shared among the member cities, creating a regional public-private partnership that will lay the groundwork for future “smart region” concepts. SBCCOG and the SBWIB are eager to continue the efforts to support business retention, avert layoffs and increase economic development throughout the South Bay Cities. Fiber optic internet has become a necessity to supporting business efficiency and growth, and the SBCCOG and SBWIB are dedicated to supporting the region’s needs for economic development, government innovation, Smart City and IoT through affordable, reliable world class broadband.