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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 areas by improving digital infrastructure and supplying learning tools to communities.

Last week, project staff met with officials and community leaders in Bethel, Royalton, Waterbury, Wilmington, and Halifax to to discuss the services they will be providing, and the program's staff intends to visit Rochester, Killington, Woodstock, and several other towns in the weeks ahead.

Services will include: digital workshops and advising for nonprofits and small businesses; downtown Wi-Fi hotspots; town website enhancements; online community calendars and forums; and digital literacy training programs at local libraries, according to a news release.

“We are carefully considering where to deploy public Wi-Fi and make improvements to town websites,” Sharon Combes-Farr, project director of the Vermont Digital Economy project, said in a prepared statement. “These are the two most requested services from the towns that applied, as well as the most resource-intensive for us to deliver.”

Funding and services for the project are provided by a grant from the Economic Development Administration and donations from private partners: IBM, Microsoft, the Snelling Center for Government, the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Small Business Development Center, and the Vermont State Colleges.

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