Rural broadband grants bill introduced as Warren County seeks improvements
WARREN COUNTY, NJ – Warren County and its many local government partners have been working diligently to bring better internet and broadband services to the county.
While the Board of County Commissioners and county staff have been providing information to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the areas with little or no high-speed internet service, state Sen. Douglas J. Steinhardt has introduced a bill to provide funding to make improved internet service attainable and affordable.
Introduced in committee Monday, Steinhardt’s bill, S-3730, would establish the “Rural Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program” within the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to provide grants to qualified applicants for the expansion and improvement of broadband telecommunications infrastructure and the provision of broadband telecommunications service in rural areas of the state.
The bill would appropriate $2.5 million in federal funding to the program.
“The County has been working hand in hand with the NJBPU to provide data and challenge the FCC broadband map in order to get more federal funding funneled into New Jersey. We are very thankful that Senator Steinhardt is backing up our efforts in Trenton to ensure that the Federal monies find their way back to Warren County,” Commissioner Director Lori Ciesla said.
“It is our goal, as well as his, to make sure everyone in Warren County has broadband available to them,” Ciesla said. “Multiple municipalities have been working with county professionals to collect data and file challenges so that New Jersey and subsequently Warren County can get the funding they deserve.”
“Many rural communities in Warren County and across this part of the state can often be overlooked by these telecom companies, resulting in limited broadband options and slower speeds for homeowners and businesses. Given the significant reliance on high-speed internet in today’s world, we believe it is crucial to take initiative and ensure these essential services are available to our communities,” Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski said.
“I’d like to thank Senator Steinhardt for his steadfast leadership on this issue and dedication to his constituents. It’s a team effort and without everyone doing their part and working together we wouldn’t be able to provide the people of Warren County with what they need,” Commissioner James R. Kern said.
The County is continuing to collect information from residents and businesses on internet and cell services.
To check and challenge the level of internet service the FCC says you have, and to report problems with cell phone coverage, click here.