Millions clawed back to improve broadband

Lafayette. U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer and Governor Phil Murphy visit Chocolate Goat in Lafayette to talk about investment needed in internet connectivity needed for schools, hospitals, and businesses.

| 21 May 2021 | 07:29

According to American Community Survey data spanning 2015 through 2019, there are towns in the Fifth Congressional District where more than 20 to 25 percent of residents lack broadband access.

U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Governor Phil Murphy led a bipartisan group of state and local leaders in outlining federal dollars being clawed back to New Jersey county, town, and state governments to improve broadband connectivity, especially in rural communities.

“For the sake of our families, economy, schools and health care, we must continue fighting for communities to help boost their broadband connectivity,” said Gottheimer on May 21 at the Chocolate Goat Gift Shoppe, a small business in Lafayette. “Reliable broadband access has held them back from expanding further.”

He was joined by Chocolate Goat store co-owners Jennifer Koza-Todaro and Stephanie Koza-Austin, Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Steve Oroho (LD 24), Assemblyman Parker Space (LD 24), Sussex County Commissioner Director Dawn Fantasia, Frelinghuysen Mayor Christopher Stracco, Hope Mayor Timothy McDonough, Blairstown Mayor Robert Moorhead, Belvidere Mayor Joseph Kennedy, Hardwick Mayor Kevin Duffy, Sussex Mayor Edward Meyer and Sussex County Administrator Gregory Poff.

“With partners on both sides of the aisle and at every level of government, I believe we can get this done,” Gottheimer said.

Gottheimer outlined the following resources in the March 2021 Covid-19 relief package:

● County and town: Every county and town government will claw back federal dollars that can be invested in improving broadband connectivity.

● State: New Jersey will claw back $190 million for broadband and infrastructure projects. Gottheimer has requested that those dollars be used to improve broadband connectivity.

● Federal: Two new grant programs are now accepting applications: a $288 million Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grant through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for communities that lack broadband, and a $3.2 billion investment for a new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program for unemployed or qualifying low-income households.

COVID relief in the portion of Passaic County included in the Fifth Congressional District:
Passaic County Government: $97.33 million
Total to the two Individual Passaic Municipalities in the Fifth District: $3.78 million
Ringwood: $1,198,237
West Milford: $2,586,552