ASSEMBLY, No. 850
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION
Assemblyman NICHOLAS CHIARAVALLOTI
District 31 (Hudson)
Assemblyman ROBERT J. KARABINCHAK
District 18 (Middlesex)
Assemblywoman VERLINA REYNOLDS-JACKSON
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Assemblyman Benson, Assemblywoman Pinkin, Assemblymen Holley, Danielsen, Assemblywomen Jasey, Murphy, Assemblymen Space, Wirths and Moen
Establishes “Community Broadband Study Commission.”
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
As reported by the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee on August 10, 2020, with amendments.
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) 1[two members] one member1 of the Senate to be appointed by the President of the Senate 1[, which members shall not be of the same political party]1;
(5) 1[two members] one member1 of the General Assembly to be appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly 1[, which members shall not be of the same political party]1;
(6) 1[two] three1 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 1, 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 State1 ; and
(7) 1[two] three1 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 1, 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 State1.
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:
a. considering whether leasing or purchasing established broadband infrastructure, such as unused fiber optic cable, is more advantageous in creating a faster network;
b. considering whether establishing a community broadband municipal or county agency or a non-profit corporation is more appropriate to administer the community broadband network;
c. 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;
d. 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
e. 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
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.