North County cities begin broadband internet collaboration efforts

Broadband Intercity Agreement

The “fourth utility” is one step closer to reality in North County

– The cities of Atascadero and Paso Robles have partnered to develop a North County Broadband Strategic Plan Project aimed at improving Internet access for businesses and residents in both communities. After signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 11, 2022, the cities issued a joint application for qualification in July and August and selected TeleworX, LLC to develop the strategic plan.

TeleworX, LLC is an international engineering and management consulting firm based in McLean, Virginia. It has a long history of strategy development and engineering of broadband networks for municipalities in the United States.

“We are excited to be collaborating on this broadband initiative. Mayor Heather Moreno of Atascadero and Mayor Steve Martin of Paso Robles and their respective staffers are moving at warp speed to advance the state of connectivity in North County,” said John Hartin, CEO of TeleworX, LLC. “The level of coordination and commitment to this effort is truly remarkable. It is an essential part of the success we hope for.”

The project focuses on developing strategies to accelerate broadband infrastructure deployment. Results of the study include, but are not limited to, identification of underserved populations, broadband-enabled economic development, network design, operational models and grants to define options for North County’s future path.

This regional agreement will help align policy development and improve the competitive position for financing opportunities and infrastructure investments, the cities said. The partnership allows cities to share the costs associated with developing a sub-regional plan, enabling communities to receive last-mile grants from state and federal governments. The project will align communities with the State of California’s Broadband for All initiative, which aims to provide reliable and affordable internet for all Californians.

Potential benefits of this important effort include:

• Access to the Internet, which supports learning in schools, libraries and at home
• Improved opportunities for job creation, training and retention
• Business attraction, retention and growth
• An enhanced position in the remote work revolution for residents and visitors
• Introduction of telemedicine and other important broadband enabled applications
• Building the broadband infrastructure for the “Smart City” future

Both municipalities have previously pledged funds for the project. At 26 square miles, the city of Atascadero is the county’s largest city geographically. The broadband development is consistent with Atascadero’s strategic plan and the City Council’s focus on economic development.

The Paso Robles City Council’s goals and strategic priorities include completing a strategic broadband plan and promoting Paso Robles as a destination for the remote economy. The importance of partnership is key to building robust, reliable and redundant broadband connectivity.

Interested parties may contact Loreli Cappel, Atascadero Associate Director of Economic Development, or Paul Sloan, Paso Robles Economic Development Manager, at [email protected] or (805) 470-3480 at [email protected] or (805) Contact 237-3888.

About the author: news staff

The Paso Robles Daily News news team wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The newsroom can be reached at [email protected].