The Walton United Broadband Initiative, spearheaded by District 4 County Commissioner Sara Comander, has been in the works for more than a year to bridge the digital divide in Walton County.

Walton County Board of County Commissioners are proud of the progress that has been made.

Comander recently gave an update on the initiative and the recently-announced partnership the county has developed with the Walton County School District and Charter Communications/Spectrum.

The Walton County Board of County Commissioners, Walton County School Board, Charter Broadcasting, Mediacom, and Cox Communications have worked to develop a strategy to address the high cost of needed internet speeds for residents of Walton County.

As part of the partnership, Charter/Spectrum is offering a new program that is designed to make broadband more affordable for low-income families and senior citizens. Charter will offer Spectrum Internet Assist that will provide 30mbps speed for $14.99 per month to eligible families.

In addition, Cox Communications and Mediacom will offer their Community Connect in their respective service areas consisting of 10mbps for $9.99 per month to qualifying families.

To commemorate this step forward in Walton County, Charter Spectrum is donating five new computers at Maude Saunders Elementary and West DeFuniak Elementary schools to the Students Participating in Community Education After School Programs (S.P.I.C.E) to assist in after-school homework and tutoring sessions.

"I am very pleased with what we have done so far," said Comander. "We have leveraged funding and have run lines to most of our schools and county buildings. We are presently trying to form public/private partnerships with local providers to take it the last mile to homes and businesses.

"We are also continuing to find more funding resources to help expand the project," she added. "Broadband benefits our schools, county, and city facilities, students, and seniors who need access to healthcare online."