Not to sound too suspicious, but we'll see if L.A. can break the big-city mold: Like most other cities, Los Angeles hired Civitium to do its leg work for them. But the charge to the consultants now isn't, "Get us a free network, stat!" Rather, it's "find us a way the network can pay for itself by shifting and conserving dollars, meanwhile improving city efficiency." Ah, that sounds much more pleasant. The city has to decide how much it might spend, as well as how other city stakeholders--"schools, hospitals, businesses" according to the article--express their interest.
The most sensible statement? From the city's technology overseer Dean Hansell: "Our goal is not to be first." You can't be buried for making that statement; more likely, ultimately rewarded.