Paso Robles, Atascadero want to team up to expand internet access

City leaders in Atascadero and Paso Robles want to team up to expand internet access in northern San Luis Obispo County.

Community members who live in rural areas of the county often do not have access to fast, reliable internet.

“We have problem spots in a variety of places,” said Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno. “You can go up and down El Camino or Morro Road and there will be pockets where it is challenging to get a connection.”

Internet issues were on full display at a recent Paso Robles City Council meeting where the live feed cut out during a presentation on broadband internet on April 5.

Outages are also affecting businesses.

“When you have an outage, you can’t get on the internet. For me, I can’t look up parts, I can’t order anything, we can’t take a credit card transaction,” said Geoff Auslen, owner of Glenn’s Repair.

The problem came to light during the pandemic as people worked from home and students switched to remote learning.

“If things stay the way they are, it certainly will hold us back,” said Moreno. “This issue needed to be addressed yesterday. We’ve been talking about it for many years but with COVID, that has made it so apparent.”

Atascadero city leaders are now looking to modernize while looking to the future, saying they hope that faster internet speeds will bring more business and jobs to the area.

The plan is still in the early stages and the cities have not yet identified how they will make this reality or what the cost might be.

Atascadero city leaders said they hope to see significant improvement in internet speeds within five years.