SHLB Announces Broadband Policy Priorities for 2022 April 06, 2022
For Immediate Release
Public interest group highlights digital equity, Universal Service Fund reform, anchor-enabled networks as key issues for community anchor institution broadband.
Washington, D.C. (April 6, 2022) - Today the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition published its 2022 Policy Roadmap, outlining the 10 policy priorities that shape its advocacy this year. While the issues in the Policy Roadmap range from building infrastructure to streamlining utility pole access, each priority is a crucial component of the SHLB mission: Closing the digital divide through schools, libraries, and other community anchor institutions (CAIs).
“Policymakers at every level of government need to understand the critical role that anchors play in promoting digital equity for all,” said John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the SHLB Coalition. “SHLB’s list of policy priorities highlights the essential steps we must take to maximize the value of every penny of new federal broadband funding. Even before publishing the 2022 Policy Roadmap, we’ve seen great progress on many of these priorities, such as the Federal Communications Commission’s announcement of a third Emergency Connectivity Fund application window, and the opening of new proceedings on Rural Health Care reform and pole attachments. This is only the beginning of what SHLB seeks to achieve in 2022, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the FCC, Congress, the National Telecommunications and Information Adminstration, and the White House to further our shared mission.”
In brief, the SHLB Coalition will focus on the following policy priorities in 2022:
- Provide CAIs the resources they need to advance digital equity.
- Continue to modernize the E-rate program and expand the Emergency Connectivity Fund.
- Ensure policymakers include CAIs in the state plans for new broadband infrastructure investment.
- Continue to strengthen and modernize the Rural Health Care program.
- Explore broadband mapping methodologies as they relate to CAIs.
- Increase licensed and unlicensed spectrum opportunities for CAIs.
- Streamline the processes for accessing utility poles and other rights-of-way assets.
- Support programs that leverage the expertise of research and education networks and higher education institutions to address the digital divide.
- Promote policies that support anchor-enabled broadband networks to connect surrounding homes.
- Reform the contributions mechanism for the Universal Service Fund (USF) and defend the constitutionality of USF.
To read the full 2022 Policy Roadmap and learn more about these priorities, visit www.shlb.org/policy/roadmap.
The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.