Hamilton County and Chattanooga use Smart City Infrastructure to Bridge Digital Divide for Students
Hamilton County Schools (HCS) is joining with EPB of Chattanooga (TN) and other community partners to ensure all students can access the internet for online learning as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Made possible by support from local private and public partners and by having a community-wide fiber optic network in place, HCS EdConnect powered by EPB is a new initiative that will provide internet services to about 28,500 economically challenged students in Hamilton County Schools in the greater Chattanooga area—at no charge to the family. The formation of this partnership program is the first time a US community is definitively bridging the digital divide for education by providing a high-quality broadband solution to all students in need.
Families in the EPB service area with students who participate in HCS EdConnect powered by EPB will receive a router and at least 100 Mbps internet service at no charge to them. This internet service is at least four times faster than typical educational access offerings from other providers, and it is the only one that delivers symmetrical speeds (same speed for uploads and downloads) with no data caps. As a result, HCS EdConnect families will have more than enough broadband capacity and data to participate in video-based learning and other high bandwidth educational applications. The program is structured such that qualified students will maintain their internet services at no charge for at least ten years if the partnership reaches its full fund-raising goal. HCS EdConnect is made possible because the Chattanooga area is served by a 100% fiber-to-the-home network that passes every home and business. This pioneering community-based fiber optic network was built-out in 2010 by EPB, the community’s municipally owned energy and connectivity provider.
Hamilton County and Chattanooga use Smart City Infrastructure