The SHLB Coalition developed “Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan” in 2016 to provide ideas and actionable policy recommendations for government leaders that address the broadband needs of anchor institutions. The ten policy papers highlight connectivity gaps and explain why broadband access is vital to communities nationwide.

Community access to affordable next generation broadband is an attainable goal, but only if we reach together. 

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The future belongs to those with access to high-speed broadband. Community anchor institutions (CAIs) – schools, libraries, healthcare providers, community colleges, public media, public housing, and other community organizations – are the key institutions that enable universal access to broadband. CAIs make essential broadband Internet services available to those who are most in need and ensure that the benefits of the Internet are widely available to everyone.

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We just passed the 20th Anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  In a moment of bipartisanship rare in Washington DC these days, observers on both sides of the aisle praised the Act for reiterating and re-invigorating the national commitment to “universal service,” the idea that all in our country must be connected to core communications services.


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Community anchor institutions need open, affordable, high-capacity broadband connections to the Internet to accomplish their mission and serve the public. High-speed Internet access is essential for learning and education, workforce development, creativity and collaboration, telemedicine, civic engagement, access to e-government services, and a host of other individual and community needs.

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SHLB's Grow2Gig+ Campaign first envisions a future where anchors have access to next-generation technology. Imagine the possibilities unlocked by libraries providing digital access to historical archives, schools leading the way in digital learning with unlimited Wi-Fi connectivity, or rural residents accessing telehealth services using 5G wireless. This is the attainable future made possible by providing next-generation broadband to anchor institutions. 

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Thank You to Our Action Plan Sponsors

Benton Foundation  ENA

GlobalstarFunds for Learning



Policy Papers

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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