Broadband Access Study Commission to use survey to correct broadband shortcomings

The Broadband Access Study Commission, which is charged with developing recommendations to help the state achieve affordable and equitable broadband access for all residents and businesses, is asking all New Jersey residents to take the state’s survey.

The survey will assess existing broadband speed and usage, in addition to identifying where gaps in broadband service and access exist. The results of the survey will help the state pursue federal broadband funding. The deadline to complete the survey is Jan. 31, 2023.

The BASC is chaired by New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Joe Fiordaliso and includes legislative representatives state Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Moorestown) and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Edison), as well as 16 other members representing all regions of the state and a cross-section of government agencies, community organizations and industry.

“As we know, everything is online, and this pandemic highlighted the vital necessity of broadband service, not for some, but for all,” Fiordaliso said. “I am honored to chair the Broadband Access Study Commission, which will identify barriers to broadband service such as physical access, deployment and affordability, and I ask residents from all areas of the state to take the survey to inform our work.

“The final report will help us plan for a better technology future and forever change how children learn and families engage online with relatives, telehealth services and businesses, and access information for years to come.”

The work of the Broadband Access Study Commission focuses on identifying gaps in broadband service, identifying where affordability is a primary barrier to access, and evaluating the feasibility of community broadband networks. ECC Technologies will provide consulting services to the BASC as it develops its recommendations and final report.

The state also submitted three federal grant applications to provide access to affordable broadband to underserved and unserved communities across New Jersey. Applications for the State Digital Equity Planning Grant and Broadband Equity Access and Deployment programs, funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, were submitted to the National Telecommunication and Information Administration.

The state also submitted an application to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. Together, these funds will build out a New Jersey broadband office for planning, deployment, mapping, equity and adoption activities, stakeholder engagement and education, data collection and analysis, and a competitive program for broadband infrastructure projects.