The past year has revealed the intricacies of communication systems and taught us both the crucial nature of these systems and how they can be improved for the future.
One such system is telecommunications. When the COVID-19 pandemic first started to spread across the United States, we were all forced to stay apart and shift to remote activities to help keep each other safe, and that reality will continue for quite some time.
As such, the importance of having quality phone and data service has never been more critical to families and workplaces. More than ever before, New Jerseyans are relying on our phones to not only work, but to stay in touch with friends and family, attend telehealth appointments, gather important information and participate in entertaining activities from the safety of our homes.
Data is what provides access to these crucial services. Whenever these services are spotty or slow, it can be highly frustrating, inconvenient and even dangerous – depending on the need for the service.
That’s where 5G technology comes in. 5G is the next generation of mobile networks, that offers faster speeds, greater storage capacity and better reliability than current LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology. This technology has become a basic necessity to residents and must be accessible to everyone.
5G would allow for fewer dropped calls, faster download times and better streaming. More importantly, it would help ensure everyone’s ability to reach first responders in the event of an emergency, no matter where they’re calling from.
This technology would even have the added benefit of serving as an alternative to traditional WiFi, which is critical in certain low-income areas where reliable internet service is unavailable. During this age of remote schooling and tutoring, it is essential that our students do not miss a day due to poor service or lack of internet connectivity.
Businesses and governments would also be able to connect their technology to this wireless network in order to implement smarter, more efficient systems at intersections, factories, farms and many other sites.
There are countless benefits to widespread 5G access, which is why it’s so important to establish the proper infrastructure to implement a statewide network. Small cell wireless communication facilities placed in strategic areas would make 5G a reality.
That’s why I’m sponsoring comprehensive legislation (A-1116) to uniformly regulate the deployment of small wireless facilities. If passed, this bill would grant wireless providers access to a municipality’s right-of-way in order to install 5G technology on existing infrastructure, such as utility poles.
Leaving it up to each of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities to regulate when, where and how this technology can be implemented would make it far more complicated for wireless providers to accomplish the task of having 5G uniformly deployed in the many different areas of our state – especially in remote areas of Salem and Sussex County.
Having one set of standards and rules for companies to follow and allowing them to create and modify existing infrastructure without being stymied or slowed by unnecessary local zoning reviews would simplify, as well as expedite the process of bringing universal 5G to New Jersey.
As these small cells are deployed, it would even improve existing 4G and LTE coverage as we wait for the 5G network to come on-line. It’s a win for all residents in New Jersey in both the short and long-run.
Cutting through the red tape while ensuring careful regulation at the state level is the best way to usher New Jersey into the next era of wireless technology. I’m excited for the many possibilities 5G can bring and will keep working to advance this legislation in the General Assembly.
In a world of interconnectedness, it’s important to make sure all New Jerseyans have the opportunity to stay connected in their day-to-day lives. 5G technology is how we can accomplish that goal.
This op-ed was originally published in the Burlington County Times on March 14, 2021: https://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/story/opinion/2021/03/14/murphy-importance-of-implementing-5-g-technology-throughout-new-jersey/4654836001/