Sen. Patrick Leahy says expanding
Vermont's digital world will help when real-life disaster strikes.
Leahy led Vermont's delegation in
securing a $1.8 million grant to improve access to online resources and
broadband internet to assist in economic recovery. The Vermont Council on Rural
Development will deploy those funds to expand internet access and town-based
social networks in 25 of the communities hit hardest by Tropical Storm Irene.
Leahy says areas with strong online
connections are recovering faster than others.
"Vermont Council on
Rural Development is going to help strengthen our already well-connected
physical communities by making them well-connected virtual communities. The key
to success is to make sure people can not only get online, but once they're
online they know where the resources are," said Leahy, D-Vermont.
The rollout is scheduled
to take place over the next 18 months. Efforts will range from expansion of
locally based online communities such as Front Porch Forum, to partnering with
IBM to create three Microsoft academies in Vermont. VCRD spokespeople say about
25 communities will receive extensive upgrades.