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

NORTH COUNTY — The Cities of Atascadero and Paso Robles have engaged in a collaborative effort to develop a North County Broadband Strategic Plan Project aimed at improving internet access to businesses and residents in both communities. Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on May 11, the Cities released a joint Request for Qualifications in July and in August and selected TeleworX, LLC to develop the Strategic Plan.

TeleworX, LLC is an international engineering and business consultancy based in McLean, Virginia. It has a long history in strategy development and engineering of broadband networks for municipalities across the US.

“We are delighted to collaborate on this broadband initiative. Mayor Heather Moreno of Atascadero and Mayor Steve Martin of Paso Robles and their respective staffs 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 ingredient to the success we expect to achieve.”

The project will focus on the development of strategies to accelerate the deployment of broadband infrastructure. Outcomes of the study will include, among others, the identification of underserved populations, broadband enabled economic development, network design, operating models and grant funding to establish options for North County’s path forward. This regional agreement will support the alignment of policy development and improve the competitive position for funding opportunities and infrastructure investments. The partnership allows the cities to share costs associated with developing a sub-regional plan, positioning the communities for last mile grant dollars flowing from the state and federal governments. The project will align the communities with the State of California’s Broadband for All initiative that target reliable and affordable internet for all Californians. 

Some of the potential benefits of this important effort include:

• Access to the internet that supports learning in schools, libraries and homes

• Improved opportunities for job creation, training and retention

• Business attraction, retention and growth

• An improved position in the remote-work revolution for residents and visitors

• Roll-out of telemedicine and other crucial broadband enabled applications 

• Establishment of the broadband infrastructure for the Smart City future

Both communities have previously committed funding toward the project. With 26 square miles, the City of Atascadero is the largest city in the County in terms of geography. The development of broadband aligns with Atascadero’s Strategic Plan and City Council’s focus on Economic Development. 

Paso Robles City Council’s goals and strategic priorities include completing a broadband strategic plan and promoting Paso Robles as a destination for the “Remote Economy.” The importance of the partnership is key to building resilient, reliable and redundant broadband connectivity The ability to work together enables the cities to accomplish more for our constituents.