Announced recently, the state of Vermont, located in the Northeast corner of the United States, is best known for its snowy mountains, delicious ice cream and Phish-loving hippies. The state is making notable headway to improve its economy by launching the “e-Vermont Community Broadband Project”, which will bring broadband and education to 12 rural communities.
The e-Vermont Community Broadband Project received federal stimulus funds to encourage broadband use in rural areas. As part of the project, not only will the towns receive broadband Internet but they will also receive digital tools and in-depth Internet training like ways to take full advantage of the Internet for creating jobs and innovative schools, providing social services, and increasing community connection.
A few of the communities include Bridgewater, Calais, Castleton, Dover, Fairfield, Hardwick, Jay/Westfield, Middletown Springs, Moretown and Morristown, Vermont. Many of the towns are creating public access Wi-Fi zones in their town centers in order to promote their communities and provide visitors with information about local events, services, entertainment and hospitality.
“As we work with rural communities to support the best use of high speed Internet tools in business, government, community and education, we are bringing Vermont one step closer to truly eliminating the digital divide,” says Project Director Helen Labun Jordan, “Rural regions can’t be left behind in digital skills– we may be receiving high speed Internet later than more urban areas, but we’re going to make up for lost time through programs like e-Vermont.”
e-Vermont is one of the few national broadband adoption initiatives focused on rural needs and it should be viewed as a national model. With the right tools and the proper education, the Internet can make a huge impact on the lives of rural community members, as long as they don’t spend too much time on Chatroulette.