Community Anchor Institutions in the Digital Age
Schools, libraries, and hospitals are familiar examples of what has come to be known as a “community anchor institution," a term that includes “a public school, a library, a medical or health-care provider, a community college or other institution of higher education, a State library agency, and any other nonprofit or governmental community support organization.”
But in the 21st century, community anchors’ missions are moving beyond their walls. Libraries no longer deliver knowledge that is housed only within their buildings or the covers of hardbound books. Public education today cannot exist separate from the ability of students and teachers to use broadband connections—both in school and out. And health-care facilities see and monitor patients both in hospitals and in their homes.
With advanced communications changing how education, health care, and other vital services are delivered, we need an action plan to support the works of community anchor institutions in the 2020s:
- Community anchor institutions need competitively priced, High-Performance Broadband.
- Community anchor institutions need to reach people wherever they are—both within and outside the buildings that house these institutions.
- The High-Performance Broadband networks that connect community anchor institutions can be used as launching pads for new, community-wide service.
Each goal is important on its own; together they form the spine of an action plan to support the works of community anchor institutions in the 2020s.
Community anchor institutions should be at the center of any comprehensive national strategy to promote the availability and use of High-Performance Broadband.