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Vermont Digital Economy Project In the News

How a Vermont social network became a model for online communities
VCRD helped bring Front Porch Forum to every town in Vermont through our eVermont Community Broadband and Vermont Digital Economy projects. This article expands on the history of this unique social network designed to build bonds between neighbors... more
Tech help for job hunters renewed
As seen in the Times Argus: MONTPELIER — Job seekers who are computer-challenged have a new technology tool at their fingertips. Beginning in March, six libraries across Vermont... more
Hardening Against Disaster by Going Digital
By Dale McKay, Daily Yonder: When tropical storm Irene wiped out a month’s worth of timber sales, Vermont logger Carl Russell, who lives off... more
With Front Porch Forum, Internet Goes Local
By Dale Mackey, Daily Yonder: A Vermont-based social media platform helps residents communicate with neighbors. In the process, participants feel more connected to each... more
Digital tools having big impact on Vermont farms
In one way or other, Vermont farmers have always been drawn to new technologies, from innovations in horse-drawn plows to devices that bring them essential weather updates. Today, rapid advancements in digital tools are putting remarkable... more
Wired in Waterbury: Free Internet access
By Matt Mientka | Waterbury Record Waterbury now has the largest downtown free Wi-Fi coverage in Vermont. The public Wi-Fi network, completed this month, encompasses Stowe and Main streets and allows access from Rusty Parker Park, the Waterbury... more
Costello: Digital innovation brings new vitality to rural Vermont
When we think of Vermont, we picture our beautiful working landscape, our lakes and mountains, and our dynamic community centers. Our past is crucial to who we are and to the character and identity of this special place. But the land we care for and... more
New Report Highlights Potential for Vermont’s Digital Economy
MONTPELIER, VT – Bridging the digital divide and expanding the innovative use of online tools will remain critical for Vermont if it wants to continue building resilience into our communities, keep businesses competitive, and assure that community... more
New report highlights potential for Vermont’s digital economy
MONTPELIER, VT –Bridging the digital divide and expanding the innovative use of online tools will remain critical for Vermont if it wants to continue building resilience into our communities, keep businesses competitive, and assure that community... more
Montpelier farmers market has multiple winter homes
Published in the Times Argus: MONTPELIER — The Capital City Farmers Market is kicking off its winter season Saturday with a new website and a pair of new venues. With the loss of its... more
Irene's Silicon Lining: Has wiring Bethel changed it for good?
By Ken Picard: The noontime rush at Cockadoodle Pizza Café in Bethel is more like a steady trickle. Two construction workers in reflective neon vests wait in line for pizza... more
Close the digital divide By Steve Pappas, Times Argus - A few hundred Vermonters made history at the State House this week. While a few of them were lawmakers, the vast majority of the participants were... more
Summit addresses Vermont's digital economy
MONTPELIER -- Vermont is on the right track toward developing a digital economy and has more to do, Gov. Peter Shumlin told an audience at the Statehouse on Tuesday. Shumlin gave the keynote speech at a daylong summit in Montpelier organized by the... more
Got Tech? Industry Wants To Be Part of Vermont's Image By Steve Zind, VPR - Vermont high tech companies say the state’s way of life is a powerful calling card for the kind of clean industry it hopes to attract, but they would... more
Conference Assesses Vermont’s Future Digital Economy By Pat Bradley, WAMC Northeast Radio - A daylong conference was held at the statehouse in Montpelier Tuesday to highlight what technological and digital innovations could... more
Audio ~ VT Connected Summit on the Mark Johnson Show
Mark Johnson interviewed 5 participants of the VT Connected Summit of September 23, 2014. Here are the links to the Show broken into 2 parts: - Alex Tursi of Fletcher Allen,... more
Improving Vermont's digital economy
By Alexei Rubenstein, WCAX - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports- MONTPELIER, Vt. - In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, most of the visible damage was to Vermont's... more
Digital economy summit addresses Vermont’s ‘brand’
By Hilary Niles, - Vermont is on the right track toward developing a digital economy and has more to do, Gov. Peter Shumlin told an audience at the Statehouse... more
Got Tech? Industry Wants To Be Part of Vermont's Image
Vermont high tech companies say the state’s way of life is a powerful calling card for the kind of clean industry it hopes to attract, but they would like state officials to do more to market itself to attract new business. The “Envisioning the... more
Improving Vermont's digital economy
Aired on WCAX: Watch the video here: WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports- In the wake of... more
For Some Vermonters, A Lack Of Knowledge Is The Barrier To Getting Online
By Steve Zind. Listen to the story here: ------------------ Much has been made of Vermont’s efforts to extend broadband service to every resident. But the service isn’t... more
Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of the Vermont Digital Economy Summit at State House Sept. 23
Vermont Connected: Envisioning the Future of the Vermont Digital Economy a summit convening produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) will be held at the Vermont State House on Tuesday, September 23. The event will highlight the... more
VT Digital Economy Project
July 21, 2014 A look at how the VT Council on Rural Development has given local communities a technology boost following Tropical Storm Irene, including a conversation with Tess Gauthier of The Snelling Center. Also, Morning Almanac with Arlo... more
Downtown Wi-Fi kickoff will be celebrated during Midnight Madness
by KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer BENNINGTON -- The town's annual Midnight Madness event will coincide with a celebration of the recent Wi-Fi project completed in the downtown. As part of the festivities, Economic and Community Developer Michael... more
Bennington gets new Wi-Fi service
BENNINGTON, Vt. - Surfing the Internet in Bennington is getting a whole lot easier. A new Wi-Fi service is up and running downtown. The free access is part of an effort by Vermont's Council on Rural Development to get communities connected. It's... more
Towns Take Down Websites In Response to New Open Meeting Law
by Steph Machado MONTPELIER - Some towns are struggling to keep up with a new Vermont law. The updated Open Meeting Law was passed by the Legislature in May as an effort to make towns and cities more transparent, and bring the current law into... more
Bennington’s downtown now a Wi-Fi zone
By Patrick McArdle BENNINGTON — It’s a digital world, and visitors and residents alike can now get free access to it through the public Wi-Fi zone in downtown Bennington. People using laptops, tablets and smartphones can connect to the Internet... more
Wi-Fi and Broadband Spreading Through Vermont
by Alex Rose Waterbury, Vt.- Some people are attached to their phones, and connecting to Wi-Fi on your Smartphone, brings the internet to our fingertips. "Internet access is a basic need for participation in the economic life, civic life, social... more
In the zone
By Miranda Orso  Free, public Wi-Fi in downtown Waterbury Parts of downtown Waterbury are now in the zone — a free public Wi-Fi zone. A new “wireless mesh network” of access points was recently installed around downtown. The new system is... more
Halifax gets a wifi spot
By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff HALIFAX -- There will be wireless Internet access after a wifi hotspot was set up at the Halifax Town Garage located at 2044 Branch Road last week. "It's in place now," said Halifax Selectboard member Edee Edwards. "... more
VCRD and IBM partner for a more resilient Vermont
Final IBM disaster preparedness workshop with the Vermont FoodBank wraps up $150,000 IBM grant MONTPELIER - On Thursday, June 5th, IBM specialists will deliver a disaster preparedness workshop to Vermont FoodBank members from flood-prone... more
Video ~ New Wi-Fi zones popping up in Vt.
Caitlin Lovegrove, Outreach and Network Manager of VCRD's Digital Economy Project, and Chris Campbell of the Vermont Telecom Authority talk about new Wi-Fi zones being installed by the Vermont Digital Economy Project. more
Wi-Fi in Downtown Windsor: Free Network Will Cover Center of Town
Windsor — A student sitting on a bench doing homework on a laptop. A businessman enjoying lunch outside a cafe while surfing the web on a tablet computer. A tourist scanning the Internet on a smartphone while navigating downtown streets. These... more
Wi-Fi could be part of downtown’s future
By David Delcore April 07, 2014 BARRE — You probably won’t be able to watch Netflix in City Hall Park, but surfing the Internet from your laptop, tablet or smartphone without doing a number on your data plan could soon be an added attraction to... more
New public Wi-Fi areas added in Vermont
MONTPELIER, VT. — The Vermont Council on Rural Development says there are more public access points for Wi-Fi that are part of the Vermont Digital Economy Project. Their installation team reports adding wireless hotspots in Stockbridge, Killington... more
Front Porch Forum on WKVT
Michale Wood-Lewis discusses Front Porch Forum, and how the Vermont Digital Economy Project helped its statewide expansion, on WKVT. You can find the original audio here.
Marlboro gets WiFi hotspot
By HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / Reformer Staff MARLBORO -- Town residents who can’t get broadband, and who are frustrated with the slow pace of upgrading their service at home, now have an option when trying to get online. The town center has a new Wi-Fi... more
Free Wi-Fi, new website for town
WILMINGTON- Thanks to a new website and a new free wireless Internet zone, Wilmington is moving forward in its quest to become a digitally efficient municipality.  The town now has “the Wilmington connection,” a Wi-Fi zone that provides online... more
How a hackathon can transform your community
What started as an uphill battle in Burlington, Vermont on the National Day of Civic Hacking in June 2013, transversed into an understanding between local government, non-profits, the media, and the community four months later. What they came to... more
Wilmington to launch new website and Wi-Fi zone
WILMINGTON, VT - The town of Wilmington, Vermont will be celebrating the arrival of a free and public downtown Wi-Fi zone called “The Wilmington Connection,” as well as the launch the town’s new municipal website ( at a special... more
Town looks at creating wi-fi 'hot spot' at Broad Brook Grange
By John Snyder/The Commons: GUILFORD—The Selectboard said it is on the fence about whether to invest in a public Internet wireless “hotspot” at Broad Brook Grange, and... more
In A Digital World, Some Towns Working Hard To Keep Up
By Katy Savage Virginia Lancaster started the Barnard Bulletin 20 years ago when she realized people in town were not prepared when it came time for Town Meeting. She mailed it free to every registered voter. Now, the 4-8 page monthly news flier... more
Online forum connects Vermont residents in rural towns
MONTPELIER -- When Tropical Storm Irene flooded mountain valley towns in Vermont two years ago, some savvy residents turned to social media to rally for help and spread news. Their posts on Facebook pages and other community forums were answered in... more
Like the Food Shelf on Facebook
For The Woodstock Community Food Shelf  Remember back when Irene was imminent and you were wondering how long power and phone would stay connected? Somewhere in the midst of the storm, we here in Woodstock, and in Bridgewater and Reading, were cut... more
Video ~ Michael Wood-Lewis founder of Front Porch Forum on City Room with Steven Pappas
With support from VCRD's Vermont Digital Economy Project, Front Porch Forum is now in every Vermont town. FPF Founder, Michael Wood-Lewis, talks with Steven Pappas of City Room. City Room with Steve Pappas, Michael Wood-Lewis founder of Front Porch... more
Is Vermont's Front Porch Forum Moderating Civil Discussion — or Censoring Free Speech?
Written by Kathryn Flagg of Seven Days: Imagine this: A South Burlington resident posts an offhand remark on his neighborhood Front Porch Forum about killing “some useless... more
Vermont-created community website connects neighbors statewide
BURLINGTON, Vt. —It's the latest way to connect with your neighbors, and now it's in every community across Vermont. Front Porch Forum is the brainchild of a Burlington man, who created the online meeting place after finding it difficult to... more
Front Porch Forum to go statewide
By Neal Goswami MONTPELIER — An online forum allowing local communities to share information or seek and offer assistance to neighbors is set for a statewide rollout with backing from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Front Porch Forum,... more
Front Porch Forum expands to every Vermont town
The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) and Front Porch Forum (FPF) jointly announce today that Front Porch Forum has expanded and is now available statewide in every Vermont town and neighborhood. Today’s announcement is made possible after... more
VT Digital Economy Project - Builds Website for Potter's Angels Rescue
by Jenny Day Federal dollars are helping puppies right here in Vermont. Specifically - sprucing up the "Potter's Angels Shelter" website - to get more dogs adopted. The "Vermont Digital Economy Project" is actually using the money to get more... more
Vermont Digital Economy Project Assisting Local Nonprofits in Plymouth
Rob Fish is assisting the Plymouth Historical Society in building a website. Part of the focus of this project is to share and collaborate with other organizations in the area. A free, skills workshop has been planned for Wednesday, Aug. 14th, from... more
Digital Infrastructure Gets Boost In Flooded Towns
By STEVE ZIND Resiliency has been a buzzword ever since Tropical Storm Irene. The goal of resiliency is to improve the ability of communities to recover from natural disasters. In some cases that involves building bigger culverts and better... more
Vt. Public Wi-Fi Creates Broadband Options
Broadband and Tech | Main Street Economics Vermont builds a wi-fi network for its downtown, providing students, businesses and residents with a new way to get online. For the town of 2,000, that means more opportunity -- and less time in the... more
City Room: Sharon Combes-Farr, Vermont Digital Economy Project Director
Project Director, Sharon Combes-Farr gets interviewed on City Room.   City Room: Sharon Combes-Farr, Vermont Digital Economy Project Director from Central Vermont Television on Vimeo.
Village walking tour and Wi-Fi get nod
by Jack Deming Wilmington village could get a mak­eover if a design plan is approved and acted on. WILMINGTON- The select­board approved two projects totaling $11,000 for the 1% option tax fund allotment for the second quarter, . At a meeting... more
A Day for Economic Development
By Katie Mettler Valley News Staff Writer (Published in print: Friday, June 14, 2013) South Royalton — It was a day of firsts on the green in South Royalton yesterday. The town’s grant-funded public wifi was unveiled and the third annual BALE... more
Waterbury VT Getting Boost From Digital Economy Project
Waterbury is getting another boost as it recovers from its flooding. This time from the Vermont Digital Economy project. A $1.8 million grant will benefit 25 towns impacted by flooding including Waterbury. The town will soon see many benefits... more
Towns Get Wi-Fi
Bethel, South Royalton Will Benefit By Molly Mattern Tropical Storm Irene, which devastated local communities in 2011, has imparted a surprising gift to the towns of Royalton and Bethel this summer. On Thursday, June 13 at 3 p.m. on the Royalton... more
WiFi in Downtown S. Royalton - 15 Other Towns are Next!
This video piece aired on Fox44 and ABC22.
Mark Johnson Interviews Sharon Combes-Farr at the VBSR Spring Conference 2013
Vermont Digital Economy Project Director, Sharon Combes-Farr, discusses Cloud Computing and more at the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility Conference in Burlington, Vermont. Find the original audio link here.  
Bethel Will Get Wi-Fi
Whole Village Area Would Be Served By Jennie Marx The Bethel Business Association hosted a presentation on the downtown Bethel public Wi-Fi grant April 17 at the former Breaking Grounds building. The town applied for the technology grant, which... more
Hotspots: Board discusses digital economy grant
By CHRIS MAYS / Reformer Staff HALIFAX -- The Selectboard met with representatives from the Vermont Digital Economy Project on April 2 to discuss the grant the town was recently awarded from the Vermont Council on Rural Development. "The Vermont... more
Irene-impacted Vermont towns to receive digital recovery services
The Vermont Council on Rural Development announced a few of the 25 towns to receive services from its Digital Economy Project, created in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. The project is intended to spur economic growth and development in affected... more
Leahy, Sanders, Welch: Economic Development Administration Awards $1.8 M. To Help Businesses, Farms, Towns And Nonprofits Harness Online Tools To Bolster Disaster Resiliency
MONTPELIER, Vt. (Friday, Jan. 11, 2013) – Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch announced Friday that the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded Vermont a $1.8 million grant to help businesses, farms,... more
U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million to Expand Internet Capacity for Vermont Businesses in the Wake of Tropical Storm Irene
WASHINGTON — Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a $1.8 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Vermont Council on Rural Development of Montpelier, Vermont. The investment will help the state rebound... more