On May 7-9, 2014, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. There were over 320 registrants from community anchor institutions, federal and state agencies, and the private sector.

The meeting began with workshops on May 7th, addressing such topics as “Building a Gigabit Nation” and included opening remarks on May 8th by Louis Fox, CEO of The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives and Senator Ed Markey. It concluded on May 9th with topics such as “E-rate Benchmarks and Data” and “Developing Mobile Learning.” Overall, the meeting participants discussed the great strides made by the E-rate community, the overhaul of the E-rate program currently under review by the FCC, and the new technologies that more effectively and efficiently serve schools, libraries, and healthcare providers.

The meeting also featured a panel to discuss the pros and cons of building and operating a broadband network. The panel was comprised of myself and other panelists with expertise required for such a project. We all agreed that planning, planning, planning is the key to a successful and sustainable build.

The meeting was probably best summed up by John Windhausen, the Executive Director of SHLB, when he stated that “[b]y working together, we are improving the deployment and use of open, affordable, high-capacity broadband for anchor institutions and their communities.”