Anchors for Digital Equity 

2024 Co-chairs 

Tom Esselman

Esselman Consulting

Rebecca Ranallo

Cuyahoga County Public Library

SHLB Staff Contact: Kristen Corra

The purpose of the Anchors and Digital Equity Policy Group is to advance digital equity goals and to advocate for increasing the role and contribution of anchor institutions in achieving these goals.  Anchor institutions such as schools, libraries and higher education institutions have historically been at the forefront of community equity initiatives and can and should make a significant contribution to this work in 2024 and beyond.

The SHLB Anchors and Digital Equity Policy Group advocates for Federal policies that promote universal access to affordable high-speed internet and devices, and digital literacy programs. To do this, we will engage with federal and state policymakers to support leveraging the expertise and resources of anchor institutions in achieving digital equity goals

The SHLB Anchors and Digital Equity Policy Group provides a forum for members to exchange information about organizational, state, and Federal programs and resources related to anchor institution digital inclusion initiatives that could be leveraged or replicated by other organizations.

May Meeting Summary

May 28 , 2024: 

  • 22 state broadband plans called for investments in community wireless networks.

  • NTIA approved every state’s Volume 1, but only 7 states have received NTIA approval for Volume II. Some states are not pushing for faster NTIA approval, as they need the extra time to make their grant awards.

  • Every state submitted a request for funding from the Digital Equity Capacity Grant program.

Full meeting notes for this and prior meetings are available to members here.

Focal areas of the group include:

  • Renewal of ACP funding in the near term, and for a permanent/long-term funding source to help consumers access high quality broadband.
  • Identify the critical role played by institutions of higher education in promoting access to affordable broadband for students, teachers and the surrounding communities.
  • Telehealth initiatives
  • Proposed bill to amend the Digital Equity Act to include AI literacy. See article.
  • Rollout of state digital equity plans
  • Assess existing USF programs (E-rate and RHC) and advocate for advancements that include digital equity considerations and goals
  • Support long-term funding solutions for the Universal Service Fund
  • Kelly Wert, Senior Associate, Pew Charitable Trusts
  • Kimberlyn Jones, Digital Opportunity Program Manager, Kansas Department of Commerce 

June 2019
The Economic Benefit of Keeping the "E" in "EBS"

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