Government Funding for Broadband Network Providers Serving Community Anchor Institutions


Governments can provide funding directly to broadband providers to deploy robust broadband networks   for anchor institutions when the commercial market is not able to do so. Recommendations include creating competitive grant programs, promoting public-private partnerships, considering non-traditional financing such as preferential tax treatment and loan guarantees, and allowing non-traditional providers to participate in broadband funding programs.

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Recommendations for Action

To support the development of high capacity, affordable broadband infrastructure for community anchor institutions, federal, state and local policymakers can:

  • Provide government funding to broadband network providers to stimulate network deployment that benefits anchor institutions, especially in unserved or underserved areas.
  • Supplement government funds by helping secure additional and/or matching funds, whether from private or grant sources, to build out necessary broadband infrastructure.
  • Offer open eligibility requirements in regard to the types of entities that can apply for funding to increase the number and quality of proposals.
  • Ensure that grantees are strong enough and have the expertise to sustain a project for the long-run after the initial funding has been exhausted.
  • Require recipients of funding to include anchor institutions in the design and planning of the network build- out.
  • Work with stakeholders – including anchor institutions and the broadband industry – to understand how the provision of high-quality broadband to anchor institutions can help reach non-broadband policy goals, such as those related to distance learning or telemedicine services.
  • Develop a scored grant program that allows the grantor to target awards to entities that present the best case for funding.
  • Ensure that government-funded networks have open access and interconnection policies that facilitate competition and promote service to surrounding business and residential consumers.
  • Act as facilitators to help coalitions of entities apply for broadband infrastructure funding.
  • Keep up relationships with grantees to help identify and solve issues before they become problems.

Examples/Case Studies

2016 Connecting Carbondale Playbook PDF
2016 Connect NY Broadband Program Website
2016 California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Website
2016 LinkWISCONSIN Website
2016 ConnetME Broadband Planning Grants Website
2016 Minnesota's Broadband Grant Program Website
2014 NTIA Report: Oregon's LCOG network provides middle mile connectivity PDF
2013 Illinois Gov Quinn's "Gigabit Cities Challenge" Article
2008 MA Gov Deval Patrick Signs Broadband Access Law PDF

Additional Resources

About the Author

Amelia Bryne

Trained in cultural anthropology and new media, Amelia Bryne is co-Director of, a research consultancy that focuses on the social and environmental impacts of information and communications technologies. She has worked with the American Library Association Office for Information Technology Policy, the University of Helsinki, the Social Science Research Council, the Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project, byDesign eLab, and other public interest research projects and institutions. Her research has been published in journals such as Telematics & Informatics, Policy & Internet, and the Journal of Community Informatics.

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Action Plan Authors

Amelia Bryne

Kelleigh Cole

Joanne Hovis

Tom Koutsky

Blair Levin

Christine Mullins

Angela Siefer

Gina Spade

John Windhausen


Steering Committee

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