Connecting our nation’s schools, libraries, health clinics, and other community anchor institutions (CAIs) to affordable high-speed broadband needs to be a national infrastructure priority, especially in rural markets. In an effort to accomplish this goal, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition today is releasing a letter to President Trump signed by 29 companies and anchor institutions urging the Trump Administration to include funding to deploy high-capacity broadband to and through anchor institutions in rural markets in the upcoming infrastructure package.
The term “anchor institution” refers to any large community institution that serves the needs of the general public, and includes community colleges, public housing, community centers, public media, and local government offices in addition to schools, libraries, health clinics and hospitals. These community anchor institutions are crucial to closing America’s digital divide.
“Strengthening America’s high-speed broadband should not be a wish — it should be a national priority,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). “Millions of students still lack robust connectivity to complete their homework, undertake 21st century learning, apply for higher education and acquire skills necessary for success in the workplace. America should seize the moment and make a long-term investment in expanding broadband and supporting the equitable learning experience every child deserves.”
“ALA agrees with the many local, state and congressional leaders who’ve said that every American needs high speed broadband,” said Julie Todaro, President of American Library Association (ALA). “It’s unquestionably a critical part of our national infrastructure and must be part of any coming bill. Especially in difficult economic times, leveraging America’s 120,000 libraries to get broadband and the resources and services delivered through broadband to almost every community is the best first investment toward that goal that Congress and this Administration can make.”
The digital divide is most acutely felt in rural America. The costs of deploying high-speed broadband in rural areas can be two to three times higher than in urban markets which makes it difficult for commercial companies to invest without financial support.
“Universal service policies have helped overcome the economic disadvantages of rural markets to deliver affordable electricity and phone service to nearly everyone in the country, and this basic concept should now apply to broadband,” said Don Means, Director of Gigabit Libraries Network. “Community anchor institutions can play a critical role as ‘intermediate end points’ in building out fiber infrastructure to lessen the cost/risk burdens on rural wired and wireless last mile investments whether by commercial, public or non-profit providers.”
Read the Complete News Release
Direct to Full Text Letter Sent to President Trump
4 pages; PDF.
List of Signatories
- Access Humboldt
- Allband Communications
- American Library Association
- Benton Foundation
- California Educational Technology Professionals Association (CETPA)
- Colorado Telehealth Network
- Connected Nation
- Conterra Inc.
- Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
- Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Crown Castle
- eX2 Technology, LLC
- Funds for Learning
- Gigabit Libraries Network
- Independent Health Network
- Indiana Rural Health Association
- Indiana Telehealth Network
- Kellogg & Sovereign
- Mobile Citizen
- New Jersey State Library
- Northwest Council for Computer Education (NCCE)
- Next Century Cities
- North Carolina Telehealth Network
- Power and Communications Contractors Association (PCCA)
- Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB Coalition)
- State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
- Virginia Rural Health Association