By Michael R. Heilmann, Associated PressNew Jersey regulators have approved a plan that could force companies to offer at least one broadband service in every home.
New Jersey Attorney General George Jepsen has said the plan could make New Jersey one of the first states to require all consumers to have at least a basic internet connection.
But the measure would only require providers to provide service in homes that meet certain criteria.
Under the proposal, companies that offer services in homes with a broadband connection could have to offer the service at least once a year.
The companies would be allowed to charge a fee for that service.
The fee would be determined by the state, but would be paid by the provider, the consumer and the government.
Jepsen’s proposal was filed Wednesday in the state’s state-run Division of Consumer Protection.
He said the proposal is not meant to impose a monopoly on broadband service.
The proposal comes amid a nationwide debate over how much access to broadband is needed to support modern life.
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last month released a report that found nearly half of U.s. adults don’t have access to at least an internet connection, and that many Americans have a broadband service they have to pay for.
The agency said about 22 percent of adults who do have access say they have not seen an advert for internet service since they joined the market in 2015.