On October 1, 2020, Next Century Cities, as part of the Schools, Hospitals, and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) coalition met with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) staff to discuss reclassifying anchor institutions in broadband mapping data sets. SHLB members raised several issues with Wireless Competition Bureau staff including:

  • Data related to broadband access via anchor institutions should be collected in its own category to maintain clarity regarding goals set forth in the National Broadband Plan.
  • Advocates support increasing transparency and completeness of the broadband data collection. The Commission should collaborate with other Federal agencies and state governments to collect supplemental mapping data. 

Anchor institutions are key in making broadband internet services available to those who are most in need, especially low-income populations. Reconsidering how anchor institutions are identified in the FCC’s data sets will help to identify which populations have broadband access via schools and libraries, for example, and which still do not.  Read the full ex parte here.