The United States Department of Commerce announced Sept. 16 that it will award the city of Paso Robles $2.8 million to expand broadband access and reliability in the city.
The money comes from the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and will be matched with $707,489 in local funds, according to a news release from the department.
“Millions of rural Americans are held back by slow broadband or a complete lack of access, and my district is no exception,” U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, a Democrat whose district includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, said in the news release. “Reliable broadband allows our economy to grow, expands access to online health and learning opportunities, and improves quality of life. This is a huge step to ensure every member of our community has what they need to succeed in the 21st century.”
The grant is part of a $15 million Economic Development Administration program to assist communities impacted by nuclear power plant closures. Diablo Canyon, a nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County, is scheduled to be decommissioned by 2025.
The Paso Robles broadband project will fund the installation of nearly 11,500 feet of new fiber optic cables in the city’s existing underground conduit, as well 52,500 feet of additional fiber optic cable in a new underground conduit to support the needs of the business community.
“President Biden is committed to expanding broadband access throughout the country, especially in rural and underserved communities,” Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo said in the news release. “This EDA investment in Paso Robles makes the city more competitive for business and builds resilience to future economic disruptions.”