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Metuchen gauges public’s interest on alternative internet service providers through survey

METUCHEN – Borough officials want to know if residents, businesses would welcome an alternative internet service provider other than Optimum.

A survey will be floating around for the “next couple months” to gauge input from the community regarding broadband availability and interest within the borough.

“Our residents don’t have any choice when it comes to internet service, which is now a necessity,” Council President Jason Delia said. “With more people working from home and children needing internet access for school, reliable high-speed access has become essential.

“But without competition, there is no incentive to provide the best possible service at a competitive price. With this survey we are hoping to convince Planet Networks that there is a market for them here in Metuchen and we are well worth the capital investment to build out their infrastructure here.”

Delia said he has been in contact with Planet Networks, an internet service provider in Newton, for the past year.

“They work typically in more underserved rural areas, not necessarily somewhere like Metuchen,” he said. “However, I did the best I could to sell them on us as a potential place to look to move and to come here and provide internet service for the borough.”

Metuchen’s move to offer an alternative internet service provider follows neighbor Edison’s move to end what they have called “the monopoly of Optimum.”

In April, the Edison Township Council had awarded a contract/purchase order to Millennium Communications Group Inc., East Hanover, for a high-speed feasibility study and business plan to assess the township’s current and long-term needs with advances of technology.

Delia said Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch and Edison Mayor Sam Joshi speak regularly on a number of issues of mutual concern and they have discussed the borough’s struggles with Optimum.

He said they want to gather data from as many people as they can. The survey is on the borough’s website. The TV and Technology Committee pushed information out through social media.

“We will find creative ways to reach people outside of social media too, perhaps the farmer’s market, perhaps the senior center and businesses,” Delia said. “We want to get as many people to fill this survey out as possible, so we have the best opportunity to potentially have another option in Metuchen.”

For more information, visit metuchennj.org. The survey link is https://survey.fasternj.org/1209

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