Benton Publishes Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition's "Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan"

Policy Recommendations Designed to Help Federal, State and Local Policymakers Close the Digital Divide

WASHINGTON D.C. (Wednesday, July 13th, 2016) -- Connecting our nation’s schools, libraries, health clinics and other community anchor institutions (CAIs) to next generation high-speed broadband is an important national priority. In an effort to provide federal, state and local leaders with policy options to ensure that all anchor institutions have high-speed connections to the Internet, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition is releasing “Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan.” The report is published by the Benton Foundation.

SHLB is the leading advocate for open, affordable, high-capacity broadband for our nation’s community anchor institutions and their communities. The recently launched Grow2GiG+ Initiative is a campaign designed to help bring gigabit speed-and-beyond networks to all anchor institutions in America by 2020.

“Anchor institutions are the lifeblood of our communities, and access to high-speed Internet at our nation’s anchor institutions is the first rung on the ladder to success,” said John Windhausen, Jr., Executive Director of SHLB. “The SHLB Action Plan gives policymakers a road map for designing a broadband strategy that promotes education, health care and community enrichment.”

"The Benton Foundation is publishing the Action Plan because our top priority for 2016 and beyond is affordable broadband access and adoption for all Americans," said Adrianne B. Furniss, the foundation's executive director. "I can think of no better partner than the SHLB Coalition and its diverse members. Community anchor institutions, as is so well-articulated in the report released today, are on the front lines ensuring that the benefits of the Internet are widely available to everyone, promoting equity for all."

The SHLB Action Plan includes ten policy papers that outline several paths to success, identifying problems and providing solutions that improve access, funding and infrastructure, so that all communities, urban and rural, rich and poor, can access more affordable, next generation broadband services.

The papers share three common themes:

  1. Sharing, such as aggregation and public-private partnerships that eliminate silos and reduce costs;
  2. Promoting competition to incentivize growth and bring more affordable options; and,
  3. Funding strategies that help communities meet up-front build-out and deployment costs, and ongoing monthly fees.

The SHLB Action Plan expands and integrates several of today’s leading policy topics -- including dig once, spectrum allocation and the Federal Communications Commission’s special access/business data service reform -- to illustrate how these policies can help improve education and lower heath care costs.

Find the paper online at www.shlb.org/action-plan and www.benton.org/SHLB-broadband-action-plan

SHLB is releasing the report today at an event in Washington D.C. held at the Alliance for Excellent Education featuring several of the papers’ authors and industry leaders who will gather to discuss their recommendations. Watch the event online at www.shlb.org/action-plan

For additional information, contact Jeff Sharp, [email protected], 202 285 7040

Open, affordable,
high-capacity broadband for
community anchor institutions
is an attainable goal,
but only if we reach together.