Community Anchor Institutions

Institutions that are rooted in their local communities by mission, invested capital, or relationships to customers, employees, and vendors.

The Plan for a Connected Illinois

Illinois is home to over 12.7 million individuals in approximately 4.9 million families who speak over 20 languages. These families live in 102 counties that range from the dense urban areas found in Cook, DuPage, and Lake counties to the rural areas in Pope and Stark counties; from Illinois’ manufacturing centers like the Quad Cities, Rockford, and Greater Peoria regions to the farmlands of Gallatin, White, and Sangamon counties. Common to all of these communities and geographies is the way they stay connected to each other and to the broader global community; how they access healthcare, e

Emily Drabinski: Will Congress Keep Its Broadband Promise?

Prince George’s County Memorial Library System received a $500,000 Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant from the Federal Communications Commission in March 2023 to find and connect those living in eligible households with the $30 monthly discount available to home broadband. Libraries in New Jersey, Nashville, and New York City likewise received the outreach grant. After months of hiring, developing their outreach program, and identifying eligible individuals, outreach grantees are hitting their stride.

Ending the ACP will Limit the Internet’s Economic and Healthcare Benefits for Low-Income Households

What does solving the digital divide look like? The simple answer—getting more people online—is tempting, but it’s just a first step. Focusing only on home adoption rates provides a too limited perspective on the benefits of solving the digital divide. Consistency of connectivity is a key issue for low-income households—and this consistency is an important part of what the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) offers. For many households, the digital divide is not a one-time bridge to cross. Instead, online connectivity can be episodic.

Purdue Center for Regional Development leads effort for Indiana’s Digital Equity Plan

The Purdue Center for Regional Development—in partnership with the Indiana Broadband Office, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and Purdue Extension—has developed a draft of the state’s first-ever Digital Equity Plan.

Developing Digital Skills and Opportunity in Arkansas

The purpose of the Arkansas Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan is to outline an actionable path forward to make digital opportunity an economic benefit and reality for all Arkansans. This plan will position the state’s residents to pursue cross-sectoral economic growth through broadband-related, nondeployment activities and enhance workforce development. The draft plan is open for public comment until January 25, 2024. ARConnect has a detailed vision for achieving digital opportunity in Arkansas: 

Minnesota Office of Broadband Development 2023 Annual Report

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is located in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. OBD was created by statute in 2013 and just completed its tenth year of work on its mission to improve access to broadband service that meets the state’s speed goals, serving the needs of anchor institutions, and expanding the skills and knowledge needed to use these services. Border-to-Border high speed internet access is the goal throughout Minnesota. 2023 milestones for the Office included:

Equity-Based Grant Administration at NTIA: A Case Study

The Internet powers education and the economy, supports our health and well-being, and connects us to our neighbors and those we love. Four agencies are leading the historic effort to connect the entire nation and provide Internet for All. This case study captures insights from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA knows that meaningfully connecting everyone in America requires more than Internet access alone.

2024 National Educational Technology Plan: A Call to Action for Closing the Digital Access, Design, and Use Divides

The 2024 National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) examines how technologies can raise the bar for all elementary and secondary students. The 2024 NETP frames three key divides limiting the transformational potential of educational technology to support teaching and learning, including:

Dissent Arises as FCC Ponders E-Rate Funding for Off-Campus Hotspots

In comments to the Federal Communications Commission, associations representing rural broadband providers pushed back on a proposal to expand funding through the Universal Service Fund (USF) Schools and Libraries program (E-Rate) to include Wi-Fi hotspots at other sites outside of school and library buildings. Other commenters, however, said that the hotspots could connect students in low-income families, which they said should be a higher priority. The dispute began in October when the FCC adopted a Declaratory Ruling allowing E-Rate to fund school bus hotspots.

Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition Supports Federal Communications Commission's Initiative for Off-Campus E-rate Support

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition along with the Open Technology Institute at New America (OTI), filed comments responding to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in support of E-Rate support for off-campus internet access. The NPRM proposes to allow schools and libraries to apply for funding from the FCC’s E-Rate program for Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet access services to be used by students and library patrons in need.