In response to the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in increased online activity while residents shelter in place, three Assembly Democrats are emphasizing the importance of improving New Jersey’s internet service. Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, Majority Leader Louis Greenwald and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo are calling for the implementation of statewide regulations that would make it easier for telecommunication companies to establish 5G networks throughout the state.
A bill the three Democrats introduced (A-1116) would standardize regulations for the deployment of small wireless facilities, rather than leaving it up to each of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities to implement.
The legislation would grant wireless providers access to the right-of-way in order to install 5G technology on existing infrastructure, such as utility poles, in order to ensure quality coverage all around New Jersey.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing New Jersey residents to remain at home and conduct the majority of their activities remotely, the need for reliable and equitable internet access has never been more evident,” said Murphy (D-Burlington). “This bill will help usher our state into the 21st century by connecting residents better than ever before – including those in rural areas – and making it easier for people to access the important services they require, such as remote schooling.”
5G coverage would not only improve cell phone service but also the download and upload speeds of a user’s internet service through its next-generation technology.
“The implementation of 5G service throughout New Jersey will help our state achieve a variety of important goals,” said Greenwald (D-Burlington, Camden). “This technology would help us meet the growing consumer demand for wireless data, increase the communications service options available and make it possible for our residents to reliably get in touch with both their neighbors and other key contacts, such as employers and government officials.”
The bill was reviewed by the Assembly during the prior legislative session. A number of telecommunication companies and other related stakeholders offered their input and provided their support for the legislation.
“Over the past few months, New Jerseyans have had to do everything from job assignments and school lessons to doctor’s appointments and personal communication over the internet,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer, Middlesex). “That has proven to be challenging for many of our residents, with the slow and often unequal access to internet service depending on where they live. We must make sure everyone has the ability to access quality wireless technology both during and after the need for social distancing.”
The legislation was reintroduced earlier this year and has been referred to the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.