“Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan” was developed by the SHLB Coalition to provide ideas and actionable policy recommendations for government leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to address the broadband needs of anchor institutions. The ten policy papers highlight connectivity gaps and explain why broadband access is vital to communities nationwide.
The Broadband Action Plan is the foundation of the larger Grow2Gig+: Anchors Advance Communities Campaign, SHLB Coalition’s effort to make gigabit speeds for anchor institutions a national priority. This campaign is a call to action that brings together policymakers, educators, library and health care leaders, technology experts, and network builders to lead the way. It consists of the Broadband Action Plan and year-long efforts to promote specific policy recommendations. The SHLB Coalition hopes to stimulate further research, encourage discussion, and bring industries and sectors together to work towards the same goal.
Community access to affordable next generation broadband is an attainable goal, but only if we reach together. Help us #Grow2Gig.
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The future belongs to those with access to high-speed broadband. Community anchor institutions (CAIs) – schools, libraries, healthcare providers, community colleges, public media, public housing, and other community organizations – are the key institutions that enable universal access to broadband. CAIs make essential broadband Internet services available to those who are most in need and ensure that the benefits of the Internet are widely available to everyone.
We just passed the 20th Anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In a moment of bipartisanship rare in Washington DC these days, observers on both sides of the aisle praised the Act for reiterating and re-invigorating the national commitment to “universal service,” the idea that all in our country must be connected to core communications services.
Community anchor institutions need open, affordable, high-capacity broadband connections to the Internet to accomplish their mission and serve the public. High-speed Internet access is essential for learning and education, workforce development, creativity and collaboration, telemedicine, civic engagement, access to e-government services, and a host of other individual and community needs.
SHLB's Grow2Gig+ Campaign first envisions a future where anchors have access to next-generation technology. Imagine the possibilities unlocked by libraries providing digital access to historical archives, schools leading the way in digital learning with unlimited Wi-Fi connectivity, or rural residents accessing telehealth services using 5G wireless. This is the attainable future made possible by providing next-generation broadband to anchor institutions.
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Action Plan Authors
Larra Clark, American Library Association
Adrianne Furniss, Benton Foundation
Kevin Taglang, Benton Foundation
Bob Collie, ENA
Lil Kellogg, ENA
Rex Miller, ENA
Susannah Spellman, Internet2/USUCAN