A new report from the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition says that schools, libraries, and healthcare providers in the United States need broadband speeds of 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps to adequately serve their customers' needs. The SHLB Coalition, which features 28 members, including the New America Foundation, the American Library Association, Internet 2, and Educause, is urging U.S. federal, state, and local governments to seriously consider the needs of libraries, schools, and healthcare providers when developing broadband deployment plans. "High-speed broadband is the key infrastructure that K-12 schools, universities, libraries, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers need to provide 21st-century education, information, and health services," says SHLB coordinator John Windhausen. The institutions are core elements of communities, and affordable, high-speed broadband will help both their immediate customers and surrounding neighborhoods through shared networks, says New America Foundation Wireless Future Program director Michael Calabrese. "The most promising public investment, given limited resources, would be high-capacity fiber networks connecting community anchor institutions in every local jurisdiction," Calabrese says. "By becoming both technology hubs and bringing fiber deep into every community, schools, libraries, and healthcare providers will [bring] affordable broadband access to everyone."
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