HCS EdConnect is a program that provides no-cost home internet to students in Hamilton County Schools who qualify.
The Enterprise Center is proud to be an integral partner in the program, which aims to bring home internet access to 28,500 students and their families for at least the next 10 years. Students who are on free or reduced lunch or whose families receive SNAP benefits are eligible for the program, which installs internet service with at least 100 Mbps from EPB.
Launched in 2020, when students had to learn remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, HCS EdConnect is already serving at least 16,000+ students, who together with their family members make up about 25,000 people who now have access thanks to the program. Not only does the program give students the access that is necessary for their education, but it has benefits for the entire family. Internet access is crucial to be able to access health and other online services, search for a job, communicate with loved ones, and generally improve quality of life.
A leader in digital inclusion.
HCS EdConnect has been recognized by, among others, U.S. News & World Report, Vox, and Bloomberg as a model program; it is also the first broadband access case study in Results for America’s economic mobility catalog. The program continues to deepen our understanding of how internet access can impact individual learning outcomes and the local economy, and program partners have engaged a research team from Boston College and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to study the impact of HCS EdConnect.
HCS EdConnect is a public-private partnership made possible through support and engagement from The Enterprise Center, Hamilton County, Hamilton County Schools, the City of Chattanooga, EPB, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, private donors, CARES funding from the State of Tennessee, and The Smart City Venture Fund, which includes The Benwood Foundation, the Community Foundation of greater Chattanooga, the Footprint Foundation, The Maclellan Foundation, and Lyndhurst Foundation.