Learn how SHLB helps schools, libraries, health care providers, and other anchors connect to open, affordable, high-quality broadband.
Anchor Bytes
Your monthly SHLB update
VOL 47 | MAY 2020

SHLB Friend,

Greetings, and welcome to Anchor Bytes! If staying at home has got you down, we're here to put a broadband egg in your beer. In this month's edition we'll cover:


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Sign-on LetterAlong with Funds For Learning and the State E-rate Coordinators Alliance, SHLB drafted a proposal for Congress to connect the 7.15 million families without home internet. The legislation would provide one-time funding so that school students, teachers, and library patrons can obtain broadband at home, devices like laptops and tablets, and cybersecurity to address the COVID-19 crisis. In just a few days, over 400 organizations signed on in support of the draft "E-rate to the Home" bill. We encourage you to add your organization's name by COB Friday, May 15.

The "E-rate to the Home" bill would:
  • Provide one-time emergency funding of $5.25 billion to the Federal Communications Commission for an "E-rate to the Home" initiative.
  • Fund home broadband service, network equipment, end-user devices, and cybersecurity.
  • Ensure all broadband providers can participate.
  • Explicitly allow schools and libraries to extend their existing E-rate-funded networks to serve the surrounding community. 
  • Fund school and library cybersecurity.
  • Direct the FCC to set funding caps so that schools and libraries know how much funding is available.
  • Fund some expenses dating back to March 13.
  • Streamline and expedite the application review and approval process so that schools and libraries receive their funding as soon as possible. 


A new analysis from Funds For Learning (FFL) finds that 7.15 million households lack broadband access, and are therefore cut off from online learning during COVID-19. Fortunately, schools and libraries are in a position to expedite connectivity to these families. They just need help from the E-rate program and from Congress. 

FFL determines that it will take a $7.5 billion investment. By leveraging the existing E-rate program, Congress could provide $5.25 billion to help schools and libraries connect the learners who need it most. The remaining $2.29 billion could be paid by schools and libraries, with funding from other sources. 

The SHLB Coalition alerted Congress to FFL's analysis with letters to Senate Commerce and House Commerce leadership.



Friday, May 29, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET
SHLB Webinar
Broadband legislation is having an unprecedented moment - a reaction to the urgent need to expedite connectivity amid COVID-19. Congress is considering bills to add $2 billion to the Rural Health Care Program, $4 billion to the E-rate program, $1 billion for Lifeline, $80 billion for broadband infrastructure, and $1.2 billion for digital literacy. Tune into SHLB's legislative update to hear from the key Congressional staff who are driving the effort to fund broadband connectivity for anchor institutions and everyone. We'll explore which bills will have the best chances of enactment, and what we can do to support these initiatives.

Moderator: Kelcee Griffis, senior telecom reporter, Law360

Stay tuned as we announce the speakers!
SHLB webinars are free and open to the public.


Emergency Educational Connections Act - On April 21, Representative Grace Meng, D-N.Y., introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020, which would create a $2 billion fund for schools and libraries to ensure that student and patrons have internet access at home. Funding would be distributed through the E-rate Program. On May 12, Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced a Senate companion to Rep. Meng's bill, setting the funding level at $4 billion. SHLB joined Funds For Learning, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the State Educational Technology Directors Association in praising the congressional efforts to close the learning gap. However, the groups noted that $5.25 billion in funding is necessary to ensure connectivity for everyone. Learn more

Park Hill School District Decision - On April 27, the FCC granted the Park Hill School District's E-rate funding request. The official Order makes clarifications that offer more certainty to future E-rate applicants that wish to explore self-constructing an E-rate-funded, shared network. Learn more

House Democratic Plan to Connect All Americans to Affordable Broadband Internet - On April 30, Representatives Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and James Clyburn, D-S.C., led several colleagues to introduce a comprehensive plan to deliver affordable broadband access to all Americans. The pillars of the plan include 1) invest in internet infrastructure; 2) ensure internet affordability; and 3) enable internet adoption. Learn more 

Universal Broadband Act -  On May 5, Representatives Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and Don Young, R-Ala., introduced the Universal Broadband Act to expand the Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution base to include broadband services. While reform is overdue for the contribution mechanism, the bill would unfairly limit participation in USF programs to providers of both voice and broadband services. Commercial providers offering only broadband services would be excluded. Learn more

National Broadband Plan for the Future Act - On May 7, Senator Ed Markey introduced the National Broadband Plan for the Future Act to instruct the FCC to update the National Broadband Plan and study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our online activity. Learn more

HEROES Act - On May 12, House Democrats unveiled the newest coronavirus relief package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (Heroes) Act. The bill recognizes the importance of connecting all to affordable broadband during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, the legislation does not provide sufficient funding for schools, libraries, and healthcare providers to address the school closures, health crises, and economic dislocation caused by the pandemic. Learn more

Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act - Since its introduction last month by Representatives Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Don Young, R-Alaska, the Healthcare Broadband Expansion During COVID-19 Act has gained traction in Congress. Twenty-five additional representatives signed on as co-sponsors. On Monday Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, led a bipartisan group of colleagues in urging congressional leadership to include $2 billion for telehealth in the next coronavirus relief package. The HEROES Act includes the Eshoo/Young legislation and authorizes the spending of $2 billion in additional funding for the Rural Health Care program. This funding will still need to be appropriated.

Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act - On May 13, a coalition of Democrats introduced the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act, which would provide$1 billion to colleges and universities to pay for at-home internet connections for students in need. Learn more


On April 29, we hosted our first Marketplace Conversation: Network Security During COVID-19. More information and a recording of the discussion is available to SHLB members in our membership portal
Note: You must sign into SHLB's membership portal in order to access the recording.


On April 21, SHLB Executive Director John Windhausen and Communications Manager Alicja Johnson led a policy discussion on "The Role of Broadband in Coping with a Pandemic," hosted by the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. WATCH RECORDING
On April 30, SHLB partnered with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), Funds For Learning, and SETDA to identify the funding and policy actions necessary to connect students, teachers, and library patrons to broadband during the coronavirus pandemic. WATCH RECORDING
Eshoo-Young COVID-19 telehealth expansion legislation introduced,” BBC Wires, Broadband Communities Magazine - April 10, 2020
Members of Congress want to give $2B more to healthcare facilities for broadband,” Stephanie Condon, ZDNet - April 10, 2020
$2B Coronavirus bill would expand FCC's telehealth toolkit,” Anne Cullen, Law360 - April 10, 2020
Lawmakers seek $2B to boost broadband for Coronavirus telehealth services,” Eric Wicklund, mHealth Intelligence - April 11, 2020
How to reach students without internet access during coronavirus? Schools get creative,” Amadou Diallo, The Hechinger Report/NBC News - April 19, 2020
Coronavirus school shutdowns threaten to deepen U.S. 'digital divide',” Joseph Ax, Reuters - April 23, 2020
Schools may need an extra $5 billion for online learning,” Betsy Foresman, EdScoop - April 28, 2020
Growing calls for tech help in next stimulus bill,” Alexandra Levine, POLITICO - April 29, 2020
Senate Democrats double proposed funding boost for 'Homework Gap' concerns,” John Hendel, POLITICO PRO - April 30, 2020
"Latest COVID-19 package would boost home broadband," Kelcee Griffis, Law360 - May 12, 2020


SHLB has gained three new members since the last newsletter: Burkett Engineering Solutions, Link Oregon, and USF Healthcare Consulting. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to these organizations on our next policy call. 

SHLB is one of the fastest-growing broadband organizations and the leading advocate for anchor institution connectivity. Join the movement, and help us close the digital divide. To learn more about these issues and support SHLB's advocacy, join as a member to take part in our bi-weekly policy calls and gain access to countless other member benefits: 
Membership is affordable, and open to any organization that supports our mission.


Park Hill School District: An FCC Decision E-rate Applicants Should Know About
May 13, 2020

A years-long headache for the Park Hill School District has finally come to a satisfying resolution that could benefit schools and libraries across the U.S. Since February 2018, Park Hill has wrestled with the federal government to obtain E-rate funding for a fiber project connecting several of its schools. On April 27, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finally granted Park Hill’s E-rate funding request in a decision that also sets a good precedent for the larger community of E-rate applicants.


After you've finished enjoying this month's edition of Anchor Bytes, here are some reading recommendations by authors from around the web*. 

Anchor Institutions  Broadband Planning and Deployment Coronavirus Digital Divide Research *The views and positions expressed in these articles belong to their respective authors. Inclusion in this list does not indicate SHLB Coalition endorsement.



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With ENA, you are never alone. Our proven approach capitalizes on the combined strength of our expertise, resources, and partners to offer speed, reliability, scalability, best-of-breed technologies, and continual technology improvements to our customers. It’s an approach that begins and ends with our strong commitment to delivering exceptional care. Designed to enable the delivery of digital age education and healthcare services, ENA’s solutions power learning, connect communities, streamline operations, and give you peace of mind.

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The Arizona Department of Education's Arizona Broadband for Education Initiative used $130 million in E-rate special construction funds to install fiber across remote areas of Arizona, providing high-speed internet access to schools and libraries in underserved areas. In the process, Arizona reduced the cost of bandwidth from an average of $40 per meg to as low as $3 per meg. Learn more

The Boulder Valley School District announced a long-term contract with Live Wire Networks to provide over-the-air broadband to students without home internet access for free. Learn more

Broadband Legal Strategies, LLC announced that the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau granted the Park Hill School District's E-rate appeal, overturning the Universal Service Administrative Company's decision to deny the school district $1.2 million in federal funding. The Bureau found that Park Hill did not violate the E-rate program rules by sharing its self-provisioned network with the city of Kansas City, Missouri. Learn more

Cisco is working with the Arizona State Library to install external wireless access points that allow students without reliable internet in their homes to access Wi-Fi from outside of local libraries. Learn more

On May 5th EducationSuperHighway officially launched Digital Bridge K-12, an initiative to provide strategies to school districts and state policymakers for addressing the homework gap. Their new website contains a toolkit for school districts with how-to guides on topics ranging from conducting homework gap needs assessments to procuring and managing connectivity solutions to support remote learning. Learn more

Funds For Learning CEO John Harrington published an op-ed in EdSurge, explaining how Congress and the FCC could help millions of students access remote learning. Learn more

Since March 26, Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN) has convened eight Zoom sessions with 26 speakers for over 1,200 registrants. GLN will continue these weekly sessions every Friday at 11 a.m. ET around the topic, "What is a Library if the Building is Close." Learn more

Link Oregon has worked diligently over the last few months to insure increased network capacity and resiliency for its members and affiliates during the pandemic-induced workflow changes. In support of Oregon’s role in the Western States Pact for safely reopening during COVID-19, Link Oregon is also working closely with its counterpart states (now including California, Washington, Colorado, and Nevada) on a broadband strategy to support K-12 education, libraries, telehealth, and other critical public service domains.
Mobile Beacon celebrates its 10th anniversary, a decade of providing affordable, EBS-powered mobile broadband to community anchor institutions across the country. On-going celebrations will continue through the next year, but organizations are invited to share how Mobile Beacon has helped support their mission. Share your Mobile Beacon Mission Moment by emailing

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance announced its "Digital Navigators" concept, an initiative to provide one-to-one digital inclusion support via the phone. Learn more

Consumer Reports highlighted the Pottsboro Library's work to close the digital divide in its community. Learn more

The Washington State Library is one of several partners working with the Washington State Broadband Office to bring over 300 new drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots online throughout the state. The effort is part of an initiative to bring free public broadband internet access to all residents. Learn more

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction continues to strive for internet connectivity equity during COVID-19. Collaboration with local telecommunication vendors and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission led to the creation of a resource website, which includes a state map of drive up Wi-Fi locations and a phone number for Wisconsin residents to call to discuss connectivity options. Learn more


The CoSN 2020 Annual Conference: Breakthrough Mindsets will take place virtually from May 19 - 21. Learn more

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) will host its Emerging Technologies Leadership Forum from June 26 - 27 in Anaheim, California. Learn more

California IT in Education's 2020 Annual Conference takes place from December 2 - 5 in Santa Clara, California. Learn more


Broadband and The Coronavirus
Broadband Breakfast, a SHLB Coalition partner, is hosting "Broadband and the Coronavirus" every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. ET. The live, online series examines how our nation's high-speed networks are playing a role in confronting the pandemic. The webcasts will run through the end of May, and are open to the public to attend. Upcoming topics include:
  • May 20: "Robocalls: Have They Accelerated Under the Coronavirus, and What is the FCC Doing About It?" 
  • May 27: "How Open Access Networks Are Faring and Prospering Under the Coronavirus"


May 15, 11:00 a.m. ET - GLN Webinar: What is a Library if the Building is Closed?
May 20, 12:00 p.m. ET - Broadband and the Coronavirus (Broadband Breakfast)
May 21, 3:00 p.m. ET - SHLB Spectrum Call
May 22, 11:00 a.m. ET - GLN Webinar: What is a Library if the Building is Closed?
May 27, 12:00 p.m. ET - Broadband and the Coronavirus (Broadband Breakfast)
May 27, 2:00 p.m. ET - SHLB Member Policy Call
May 28, 12:00 p.m. ET - Michigan Moonshot Webinar: Local Community Broadband
May 29, 11:00 a.m. ET - GLN Webinar: What is a Library if the Building is Closed?
May 29, 1:00 p.m. ET - Webinar: Broadband on the Hill - A Legislative Update
June 4, 2:00 p.m. ET - SHLB E-rate Group Call
June 5, 11:00 a.m. ET - GLN Webinar: What is a Library if the Building is Closed?
June 8, 2:00 p.m. ET - SHLB Member Policy Call
June 12, 11:00 a.m. ET - GLN Webinar: What is a Library if the Building is Closed?
June 15, 12:00 p.m. ET - SHLB Coalition Board of Directors Meeting

To learn more and view all upcoming events, visit our community calendar. Please sign into the portal to view members-only events.

*All times displayed in eastern. 

Thanks for reading!

- John, Emily, and Alicja 
SHLB is supported by our members, generous donors, and the following corporate sponsor:
Education Networks of America
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