New Jersey Senate committee backs bipartisan bill addressing rural broadband access

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The New Jersey Senate Economic Growth Committee advanced a bipartisan bill aimed at establishing a study committee on rural broadband access.

The lack of reliable internet is an obstacle for some rural New Jersey students as some school systems are online because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“In one of the richest, most modernized countries in the world, it is shameful that so many communities across New Jersey, and throughout our nation, do not have broadband access to the internet,” said Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, who co-sponsored the bill.

The Broadband Access Study Commission would report its findings to the governor and Legislature with a year after its first meeting. The 11-member commission would include a lawmaker from each chamber, several other government officials with ties to the effort, and members of the public with expertise in the sector.

“This would be a comprehensive study investigating the success and failures of similar networks around the country, the costs to construct and maintain networks, and the charges subscribers would pay for monthly access,” said Republican Sen. Steven Oroho, a bill co-sponsor. “There are plenty of questions that need to be answered, but this may be our best option to bring state-of-the-art internet service to households that have thus far missed out on this game-changing technology.”

The bill passed the Assembly in August on a vote of 72-3.





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