EDISON – Optimum is the only major internet service provider available here, and township officials want to change that.
The Township Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution for Millennium Communications Group Inc., of East Hanover, to conduct a high-speed broadband feasibility study and business plan, at a cost of $36,750.
"Ending Optimum’s monopoly in Edison is a high priority," Mayor Sam Joshi wrote in a Facebook post. The mayor called the municipal broadband study "a step towards internet freedom."
Joshi touted the need for municipal broadband in the run-up to last year’s election, and this year has talked with state and federal officials about it.
"The best way to address our internet crisis is to create our own municipal broadband, where the township would own the fiber cables and lease it to a third party to administer service. This study is the first step of our 18-month plan to launch significantly faster, reliable and affordable internet in Edison," the mayor said.
Joshi explained Optimum does not have an exclusive contract with Edison, and other internet providers can come to the township, but, he said, they choose not to so to maintain their respective monopolies.
"Optimum owns the decades old copper wire infrastructure and is the servicer, therefore Edison has no leverage to hold their abysmal service and price gauging accountable. Municipal broadband (Edison ownership of the fiber optic infrastructure) would allow us to negotiate the terms, pricing, speeds and conditions to users," the mayor said.
Joshi said the township is looking to provide municipal broadband as an alternative, and those who want to keep Optimum, could.
Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Edison NJ launches plan for 'faster, reliable and affordable' internet