Each public school district, charter school and renaissance school project must update their school broadband connectivity data by Dec. 7, 2023, according to an advisory from the New Jersey Department of Education.

The NJDOE requests that each public school district, charter school and renaissance school project update the broadband connectivity data in the state technology infrastructure database, the NJTRAx Technology ReadinessTool, by the deadline.

The requirement is part of New Jersey’s push to leverage federal funds over the next two years to subsidize fiber deployment to every public school in the state that does not yet have access to a 1 gigabit per second symmetrical connection if it is accepted into a federal program.

The push is a collaborative effort between the NJDOE and the New Jersey Bureau of Public Utilities Office of Broadband Connectivity, which is participating in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment program, also known as BEAD.

To access BEAD program funds, New Jersey must submit a statewide plan to the NTIA that includes, but is not limited to, broadband access at each individual school facility, which is why school broadband connectivity data must be updated.

Following NTIA review and approval of New Jersey’s plan, the BPU intends to open a competitive grant program for broadband providers within the state. Broadband providers will then submit funding applications for eligible locations (e.g., homes, small businesses, schools, libraries) in the areas demonstrating greatest need.

Public schools with less than 1 Gbps symmetrical connectivity may be eligible to be included in provider applications. As part of the statewide plan, the BPU will establish an initial list of schools eligible to be connected to increased symmetrical service based on current NJTRAx data.

Questions regarding NJTRAx should be directed to the NJDOE via email.