Lautenberg And Menendez Announce $2 Million In Recovery Funding For Broadband Investment In New Jersey

Lautenberg And Menendez Announce $2 Million In Recovery Funding For Broadband Investment In New Jersey

New Federal Funding Will Help State Map Broadband Services and Plan for Improvements

Washington - Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced $2 million in new federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide better planning, data collection and mapping for broadband technology in New Jersey. The funding will be provided to the New Jersey Office of Information Technology to help assess the quality of broadband access throughout the state and provide information on availability in public schools and universities, libraries, hospitals and other public buildings.

"We cannot expect our children to get ahead or our economy to flourish unless we ensure New Jersey has access to twenty-first century tools and technology," stated Sen. Lautenberg, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who helped author the Recovery Act. "Expanding broadband Internet access will improve services for New Jersey families and businesses and enhance technology at our schools, hospitals, libraries and other public facilities. With this funding, we will get a snapshot of broadband service in New Jersey and improve planning for better access to emergency services, online educational resources, and other technological advancements."

"The internet has become an integral part of our education, our communication, our commerce and our lives. It is essential that families in all New Jersey communities have an opportunity to ensure fast and reliable internet access, otherwise they are at a economic and educational disadvantage," said Sen. Menendez. "This is an investment that in the short-term will create jobs by wiring communities and will help create long term economic security through education and communication."

The grant, which is funded by the Recovery Act, is divided into two parts: approximately $1.5 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period.

The data will be displayed in the National Telecommunication and Information Administration's national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers and consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them. The national map will publicly display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding census block or street segment. The map will be available beginning in February 2011.