Congratulations to TVPPA member Chattanooga EPB (Chattanooga, Tenn.) for winning the American Public Power Association’s Sue Kelly Community Service Award at this year’s APPA National Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The award recognizes “good neighbor” activities that demonstrate the commitment of the local power company and its employees to their community. Chattanooga EPB was recognized for their HCS EdConnect program which provides gig-speed Internet access to every economically disadvantaged K-12 student in Hamilton County Schools free of charge.

The program – a joint project of Chattanooga EPB, Hamilton County Schools, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County, The Enterprise Center, and other public and private organizations – was launched in July 2020. More than 14,000 students and their families have been connected to HCS EdConnect so far – more than one third of all students in Hamilton County Schools. These families are able to keep their high-speed Internet connection year-round for up to 10 years as long as they continue to qualify for the program.

“We’re proud that Chattanooga is being recognized nationally for decreasing the digital divide in our Gig City using a model that other cities can replicate,” said Evann Freeman, EPB Director of Government Relations. “Our HCS EdConnect partners are happy to share our process with other municipalities to help them decrease the digital divide in their communities.”

“EPB stepped up during the pandemic to prove that they are more than a local utility service provider,” said APPA President & CEO Joy Ditto.“They are a community partner that is deeply invested in Chattanooga. That’s what this award is all about.”