Walker County Receives $30,000 Grant for Internet Connectivity Initiative


Walker County has been granted $30,000 from Connect Humanity, a nonprofit impact fund, to participate in the Appalachian Digital Accelerator program. This initiative aims to bolster internet connectivity in communities, paving the way for economic growth and improved public health.

The Appalachian Digital Accelerator program arrives at a pivotal moment. As of February, all states have committed to addressing digital equity, ensuring that all individuals and communities have access to the necessary technology for full societal participation.

This grant will enable Walker County to develop a custom connectivity plan, aligning with broader state and federal efforts such as the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which will provide resources for implementation later this year.

Partnering with Thrive Regional Partnership, Connect Humanity will provide project management and technical support to Walker County, along with Bradley County, Tennessee, and Whitfield County, Georgia, in the greater Chattanooga region. Together, these counties will craft comprehensive connectivity plans to meet their broadband objectives and prepare for next-generation networks.

Shannon Millsaps, Chief Operating Officer of Thrive Regional Partnership, expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, emphasizing its potential to address infrastructure challenges, affordability barriers, and digital skills gaps across the region.

Connect Humanity selected the participating counties based on specific criteria, including community leadership, financial capacity to manage federal grants, and the connectivity needs of each area.

Joe Legge, public relations director for Walker County Government, stressed the importance of high-speed internet access for various aspects of daily life, including business, education, healthcare, emergency services, and agriculture. He highlighted the Appalachian Digital Accelerator as a significant step towards achieving Walker County’s goal of becoming a Broadband Ready Community in Georgia.

This endeavor receives support from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), underscoring the collaborative effort to enhance internet connectivity in underserved regions.