Healthcare Facilities

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking actions to improve the health of rural communities and help rural health care providers stay open

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking actions to improve the health of rural communities and help rural health care providers stay open. These actions:

A Digital Equity Plan to Connect All Kansans

The Kansas Office of Broadband Development’s goal is to ensure that no Kansan is left behind in the digital world. Kansas's draft Digital Equity Strategic Plan outlines specific strategies and objectives to achieve this goal, including digital skills training, affordable service plans, and broadband-ready devices as top priorities.

Universal Service Fund Under Fire

There have been several lawsuits over the last few years that challenge the legitimacy of the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund (USF). A suit from a non-profit group called Consumers’ Research argues that USF fees are taxes and that the original creation of the USF was unconstitutional since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 gave the FCC the power to levy taxes.

Washington State Sets Digital Equity Goals

The Washington State Broadband Office released its draft Digital Equity Plan in September, giving the public a full 60 days to submit comments and feedback. This wide berth for civic participation reflects the state's vision of ensuring every Washingtonian has affordable broadband and the tools to participate in our digital society. Here's a look at how exactly Washington plans to achieve its vision, and what this means for state residents experiencing the digital divide.

4th Quarter USF Contribution Factor is 34.5 percent

The  Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) submitted projections of demand and administrative expenses for federal universal service support mechanisms for the fourth quarter of 2023. The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau, in consultation with the FCC's Office of Managing Director, previously directed USAC to carry forward up to $211.50 million in unused funds from prior funding years to the extent necessary to satisfy funding year 2023 Rural Health Care program demand.

SHLB Submits BEAD Recommendations to State Broadband Leaders

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition issued a set of crucial recommendations to State and U.S. Territory Broadband Leaders as they shape their BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment) Five-Year Action Plans and Initial and Final Proposals. “Community anchor institutions play a crucial role in ensuring open, affordable, high-performance broadband for everyone in the US,” said Adrianne Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.

Sustaining Universal Service Programs

The Congressional directive in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that there be specific, predictable, and sufficient Federal and State mechanisms to preserve and advance universal service. The dilemma is that the source of Universal Service Fund (USF) programs is end user (i.e. retail) revenues from international and interstate wireline and mobile services, as well as revenue from providers of interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.

The Importance of the Universal Service Fund

On July 27, 2023, the U.S. Senate's Universal Service Fund (USF) Working Group invited public comment on the future of the USF with the stated goal of creating a bipartisan forum to guide education, awareness, and policymaking on the USF. The opportunity to weigh in with the senators has had me thinking about the importance of the USF for bringing affordable broadband infrastructure and services to millions of people around the country. So I'm taking this opportunity to share my thoughts on one of the most important tools in our national effort to reach truly universal broadband.

This 26-year-old federal fund evolved to fight the ‘digital divide.’ Now a court might throw it out.

Over the past 26 years, the Universal Service Fund — a federal subsidy pool collected monthly from American telephone customers — has spent close to $9 billion a year to give Americans better phone and internet connections, wiring rural communities in Arkansas, inner-city neighborhoods in Chicago, and public libraries and schools across the country. Now it faces the biggest crisis of its existence, and Congress appears paralyzed in the effort to fix it.

Are anchor institutions the forgotten piece of BEAD?

As state leaders forge proposals for Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding, local stakeholders are imploring them not to forget about the role of community anchor institutions (CAI). CAIs are rooted entities such as hospitals, schools, universities, and government agencies that drive economic growth and social welfare in their communities. “If you're building out to those unserved homes, and there are anchor institutions, you might as well connect the anchors while you're there,” said John Windhausen, founder and executive director of the