Bill Text: NJ S2864 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes "Community Broadband Study Commission."

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Introduced) 2020-09-14 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Economic Growth Committee [S2864 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S2864-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2864

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 14, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEVEN V. OROHO

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

Senator  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes "Community Broadband Study Commission."

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the "Community Broadband Study Commission.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

      1.   a.  There is established the "Community Broadband Study Commission."  The commission shall consist of 11 members as follows:

     (1)   the President of the Board of Public Utilities, ex officio, or the president's designee, who shall serve as chairperson of the commission;

     (2)   the Chief Technology Officer of the Office of Information Technology, ex officio, or the officer's designee;

     (3)   the Director of the Division of Rate Counsel, ex officio, or the director's designee;

     (4)   one member of the Senate to be appointed by the President of the Senate;

     (5)   one member of the General Assembly to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly;

     (6)   three public members to be appointed by the President of the Senate, who shall include an individual with expertise in community broadband networks and infrastructure and an individual with expertise in municipal and county governance or public utilities, with one individual residing in the northern region of the State, one individual residing in the central region of the State, and one individual residing in the southern region of the State; and

     (7)   three public members to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, who shall include at least one individual with expertise in community broadband networks and infrastructure and an individual with expertise in municipal and county governance or public utilities, with one individual residing in the northern region of the State, one individual residing in the central region of the State, and one individual residing in the southern region of the State.

      b.   Any vacancy in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. 

      c.    Members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their duties pursuant to this act within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the commission for its purposes.

      d.   For the purposes of this act, "community broadband network" means a local shared network consisting of a series of interlinked computers that allow persons with devices connected to a wired network within the area served to gain entry to the wider Internet through high speed Internet service connections at designated access points.

 

     2.    The commission shall organize as soon as possible after the appointment of a majority of the commission's members and shall meet at the call of the chairperson at the times and in the places it may deem appropriate and necessary to fulfill its duties.

 

     3.    The commission shall evaluate the feasibility of establishing community broadband networks in this State.  The commission shall be responsible for, but not be limited to, the following:

     (1)   considering whether leasing or purchasing established broadband infrastructure, such as, but not limited to, unused fiber optic cable and unused broadcast television signal space, is more advantageous in creating a faster network;

     (2)   considering whether establishing a community broadband municipal or county agency or a non-profit corporation is more appropriate to administer the community broadband network;

     (3)   evaluating the different methods, including legislation and contracts with private companies, that other municipalities or counties in this country have used to implement community broadband networks;

     (4)   determining the most cost effective method in which to establish community broadband networks, with a cost estimate for the local government and a rate estimate for paying customers; and

     (5)   exploring all possible federal, State, and private funding sources for the establishment of community broadband networks in this State.

 

     4.    The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the officials and employees of the State and its political subdivisions and their departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, and agencies as it may require and as may be available to it for the purposes of the commission.  The Board of Public Utilities shall provide staff support services to the commission.

 

     5.    The commission shall report its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature no later than one year following the first meeting of the commission.  The commission shall expire upon the submission of the commission's report, pursuant to this section.

 

     6.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the submission by the commission of its report pursuant to section 5 of this act.

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the "Community Broadband Study Commission" (commission).  Under the bill, the commission is to evaluate the feasibility of establishing community broadband networks in this State and is responsible for the following: 1) considering whether leasing or purchasing established broadband infrastructure, such as, but not limited to, unused fiber optic cable and unused broadcast television signal space, is more advantageous in creating a faster network; 2) considering whether establishing a community broadband municipal or county agency or a non-profit corporation is more appropriate to administer the community broadband network; 3) evaluating the different methods, including legislation and contracts with private companies, that other municipalities or counties in this country have used to implement community broadband networks; 4) determining the most cost effective method in which to establish community broadband networks, with a cost estimate for the local government and a rate estimate for paying customers; and 5) exploring all possible federal, State, and private funding sources for the establishment of community broadband networks in the State.

     The commission is to report its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature no later than one year following the first meeting of the commission. The commission is to expire upon the submission of the commission's report.

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