WATERBURY, VT – On June 26th, at 7 pm, Waterbury, Vermont, will celebrate its new, free public downtown Wi-Fi zone, which was funded, developed, and implemented by the Vermont Digital Economy Project with additional funding from the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, and local support from the Town and Village of Waterbury.
The launch event will tie into the weekly farmers’ market and summer concert series in Rusty Parker Park. The event will include an introduction to the Wi-Fi zone, with an opportunity for anyone to have their questions about the network answered. There will also be an interactive photo sharing activity, and a “wire cutting” ceremony.
Downtown Wi-Fi zones were one of the most sought-after services of the Vermont Digital Economy Project, which is part of the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Waterbury was one of the first towns to apply for and receive a grant. The coverage area of the Wi-Fi zone was later expanded thanks to an additional grant from the Vermont Telecommunications Authority’s Business Broadband Improvement District.
The Wi-Fi zone in Waterbury, which provides open and public access to free Wi-Fi for any residents or visitors in downtown areas, is available from Stowe Street, down Main Street, to Rusty Parker Park, in addition to being accessible from the Waterbury Library and the Dac Rowe Fields.
By signing on to “the Waterbury Connection,” network users can browse the Internet to check their email, look up directions, or post to social media. When using the zone, visitors navigate through a landing page, www.waterbury.org, where they have the opportunity to learn more about the activities and businesses in Waterbury.
“Beyond the overt economic benefits of driving users to a site that highlights Waterbury’s hotels, restaurants and retail businesses, the system offers insight into Internet trends that can help with local marketing,” said Darren Winham of DarWin Dynamic Solutions, Waterbury’s economic development consultant.
“We feel this is a small but important step in Waterbury’s continued revitalization,” said Caitlin Lovegrove, Network and Outreach Coordinator for the Vermont Digital Economy Project, “there are many exciting projects going on in Waterbury that will help the town and village to thrive in the coming years, and the free public Wi-Fi can help signal how forward-thinking Waterbury is, as a place.”
While the zone is already active in the town, the event will be an opportunity to share the experience of an open and public Wi-Fi network. All are welcome to attend.
More Wi-Fi zone launches will take place later this summer in Bennington, and Windsor.
About the Vermont Digital Economy Project
The Vermont Digital Economy Project was created to address vulnerabilities of Vermont business and communities that are not fully utilizing online tools. The project offers free support to speed flood recovery, spur economic development and job growth, and improve community resilience to disasters. The project is working directly with at least 25 of the towns that were affected by flooding to help businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities expand their innovative use of online tools. It is funded by a disaster recovery grant from the Economic Development Administration and from the donations and expertise of its partners (IBM, Microsoft, the Snelling Center for Government, the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Small Business Development Center, and the Vermont State Colleges) to provide grant services. More information can be found online at: www.vtdigitaleconomy.org.
About the Vermont Telecommunications Authority
The VTA supports broadband internet and cellular service expansion in unserved areas of Vermont. That is accomplished by building infrastructure and by making grants to telecommunications companies. The Business Broadband Improvement initiative is made possible by a legislative appropriation that recognizes the importance of Internet connections to Vermont’s business community.