The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) released a Broadband Action Plan this week to kick off their Grow2Gig+ Campaign. The plan was developed by SHLB as a resource to generate ideas and provide policy recommendations for community leaders. Kelleigh Cole, Director of the Broadband Outreach Center, contributed to the Action plan with a chapter titled “Broadband Needs Assessment and Planning for Community Anchor Institutions.”
The SHLB Coalition advocates for broadband access through the targeted use of Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs). CAIs include schools, libraries, healthcare providers, community centers, public housing, public education institutions, and other easy to access community meeting places that can serve as a centralized location for high-speed Internet use. CAIs can help provide affordable broadband access to a community, and they also act as anchor tenant by establishing critical middle mile connections to residential areas.
Broadband Director Kelleigh Cole was asked to be a contributor to the Broadband Action Plan due to her years of experience as a state broadband leader, in addition to her perspective on Utah’s collaborative and highly successful approach to broadband planning. Her chapter kicks off the Action Plan, and discusses the advantages to creating broadband needs assessments that drive targeted infrastructure investment where it is most needed.
For its part, Utah has a successful track record of leveraging CAIs. The Utah Education Network (UEN), a valuable partner in state broadband planning, works with schools districts, schools, and higher education institutions across Utah to build high speed networks for education. UEN often uses federal E-Rate funding to build networks into areas with high costs due to Utah’s tough geographic terrain. What’s more, these networks are built with partnering Internet service providers. Once the provider is established at a local school, they often build out their network to serve the local residents.
Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan, published by the Benton Foundation, is comprised of ten policy papers focusing on the varying purposes of CAIs in communities across America. Each paper shares examples and discusses strategies for promoting the successful use of CAIs in both urban and rural environments. The ten chapters include:
- Broadband Needs Assessment and Planning for Community Anchor Institutions
- Wi-Fi and Wireless Networking for Community Anchor Institutions
- Partnerships, Sharing, and Community Anchor Institution Broadband
- Promoting Competition for Community Anchor Institution Broadband Services
- Broadband Infrastructure Policy and Community Anchor Institutions
- Community Anchor Institutions Served by Government and Non-Profit Fiber Networks
- Broadband Subsidies for Community Anchor Institutions
- Government Funding for Broadband Network Providers Serving Community Anchor Institutions
- Rural Broadband Programs and Community Anchor Institutions
- Community Anchor Institutions and Residential Broadband Adoption
To read the full Broadband Action Plan, click here: