Bringing Underserved Communities Up To Speed With Broadband Internet Service

Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho and Senator Troy Singleton to help deliver high-speed broadband internet access to underserved parts of the state was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The new law, A-850/S-2864, will establish the Broadband Access Study Commission to evaluate the feasibility of establishing community networks to deliver state-of-the-art internet speeds to the public.

“High-speed internet is a necessity in today’s world, but the broadband so many of us rely on every day is unavailable in some rural and low-income communities that have been ignored by internet providers who are reluctant to invest in the necessary infrastructure,” said Oroho (R-24). “The creation of the Broadband Access Study Commission will evaluate alternatives to bring the high-speed evolution to these forgotten residents and help close the digital divide.”

The necessity of reliable broadband internet was highlighted by the pandemic as students were forced to attend classes online, employees adapted to working from home, and virtual meetings on Zoom and other conferencing formats became commonplace.

“Removing barriers and expanding high-speed community broadband internet access in underserved rural and urban areas will dramatically close the digital divide, while spurring enhanced educational and economic growth opportunities,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “With this new law, the study commission will determine the feasibility of putting that infrastructure in place and making community broadband a reality in New Jersey.”

The study commission will consider the logistics of deploying community broadband networks and report on its findings to the Governor and the Legislature. The mission includes completing a comprehensive study of the success and failures of similar networks around the nation, the costs of constructing and maintaining networks, and the costs to subscribers for monthly access.

“This is an opportunity to finally bring state-of-the-art internet service to residents and businesses that have missed out on this game-changing technology,” said Oroho. “It is time to level the playing field and ensure that even those in hard-to-reach communities can access fast, reliable internet service.”

Original Article