Three Helpful National Organizations for Community Anchor Institutions

Sonja WallSince COVID, broadband resources and funding for community anchor institutions (CAIs) have expanded tremendously at the national level. CAIs include organizations such as schools and libraries, healthcare organizations, and government agencies.

As the broadband landscape has changed over the last few years, three national organizations have continued to provide ongoing support for CAIs and other community organizations.

Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition

OneNet is a member of the Schools, Health & Libraries (SHLB) Coalition. SHLB’s mission is to “advocate for policies and programs that enable anchor institutions to obtain and promote, open, secure, high-quality broadband services to support connectivity and opportunity for all.”

SHLB’s members include schools, libraries, health care providers and other organizations, such as research and networks like OneNet, private companies, telehealth networks and other groups.

In addition to schools, libraries, and health care providers, SHLB focuses its advocacy efforts on gathering places in local communities. These places can include recreation centers, public housing and houses of worship. SHLB also advocates for federal E-Rate, Rural Health Care and other funding programs.

We encourage communities to learn more about SHLB Coalition membership, events and efforts to close the digital divide.

Connecting Oklahoma: Research, Government Agencies, Tribal Agencies, Hospitals & Clinics, Career Technology Centers, K-12 Schools, Libraries, Higher EducationNational Digital Inclusion Alliance

The goal of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) is to “advance digital equity by supporting community programs and equipping policymakers to act.” NDIA advocates for community members working on digital equity programs through grassroots engagement.

NDIA utilizes technical knowledge, research and coalition building to advance digital equity. Its work focuses on educating policymakers and supporting community members, such as CAIs.

OneNet promotes NDIA’s annual Digital Inclusion Week, which highlights special events, social media campaigns, and media relations.

CAIs can learn how to get involved with NDIA efforts and join the NDIA community.

USDA Rural Development

The USDA offers 20+ programs for rural broadband activities for CAIs, along with farmers, cooperatives and local government. USDA’s mission is to “provide leadership on agriculture, food and nutrition, rural development, natural resources, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.”

USDA Rural Development focuses on providing local assistance for a variety of organizations, including CAIs. Some of their goals include helping farmers with agricultural research, cooperatives with technical skills, local governments with broadband planning, and hospitals with incorporating telemedicine services.

The USDA also provides broadband funding for telecommunications infrastructure, distance learning and telemedicine, and rural broadband deployment.

Learn about USDA Rural Development resources for your community on its program website.

Serving CAIs in Oklahoma

Oklahoma Community Anchor Network Logo

OneNet is proud to serve many of Oklahoma’s CAIs through internet service and advanced research connectivity. In addition, OneNet manages the Oklahoma Community Anchor Network that connects 93 CAIs in 35 counties to high-speed broadband services.

We encourage you to take advantage of the programs and services offered at the national level, as well as our state organizations that support broadband accessibility.

Feel free to reach out to me to discuss connectivity for your CAI at

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