Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, May 15, 2020

National Digital Inclusion Alliance names Chattanooga

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance has named the City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County as a national leader in digital inclusion work.

The NDIA has recognized 14 municipalities for promoting digital literacy and broadband access for underserved residents. Chattanooga and Hamilton County were named alongside much larger cities, including New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

“Internet connection and digital literacy are no longer seen as a luxury; they are a necessity to participate in modern life,” says Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “We believe everyone should have access to those resources.”

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger also sees digital inclusion as an important component in economic mobility in the region.

“So much of modern life happens online, which is why Hamilton County has placed an emphasis on working to ensure everyone has the means to fully participate,” he says. “We believe this is a principal reason why Hamilton County has seen unparalleled economic development over the last decade.”

One key factor in Chattanooga and Hamilton County’s selection was the presence of EPB, the municipally-owned utility that makes up to 10 gigabyte internet speeds accessible to the 170,000 homes and businesses in its service area.

The City of Chattanooga and Hamilton County partner with The Enterprise Center and its Tech Goes Home program on many digital inclusion efforts in the region. Tech Goes Home works with schools, churches and other organizations to help residents learn digital literacy skills, obtain a subsidized computer and learn about low-cost internet options.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, The Enterprise Center has helped increase internet access for residents, helped small-business owners and faith leaders reach customers and members online and provided training and computer equipment to nonprofits.

“Chattanooga and Hamilton County have made great progress in addressing the digital divide over the years, but COVID-19 has underscored that there’s still much work to be done,” says Deb Socia, president of The Enterprise Center.

Source: The Enterprise Center