Prevents Internet Service Providers from Raising Rates during Emergencies
Trenton— Senators Nicholas Scutari and Troy Singleton and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano have introduced legislation that would prohibit internet service providers from increasing rates during a public health emergency. The proposal was introduced in response to the legislators hearing from many concerned constituents about internet data caps being implemented in the midst of the pandemic.
The bill, S-3410, was introduced yesterday, and would prohibit an internet service provider (ISP) from increasing internet service rates of any subscriber for the duration of a public health or state of emergency.
“It is unconscionable for any internet service provider to be increasing service rates during a time when entire families have to work or go to school from home,” said Senator Scutari (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). “Shaking down their customers during a pandemic, when so many families are struggling and are barely making it by, is disgraceful. This is why we stepped up to do something about it and prevent internet service providers from increasing bills during any statewide emergency in New Jersey.”
“Raising internet data rates during this pandemic is not just poor judgement, it is insensitive and tone-deaf,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “With so many of us working, learning, playing, and socializing virtually, we have no choice but to rely on internet connectivity and data to live our lives. Capping data to make a profit during these already challenging times—when so many are unemployed and struggling financially—is opportunistic and simply greedy.”
“The internet has become a necessity in our homes just as much as any of our utilities, especially in a pandemic where many are working from home and school lessons are virtual,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Union). “An internet service provider that raises rates during a public health and economic crisis is clearly taking advantage of New Jersey consumers. It is unacceptable to require families to pay more for their internet service when many are out-of-work and struggling to make ends meet right now due to the pandemic.”
The legislation also requires an ISP to provide written notice to a subscriber of any rate increase at least six months in advance.