Gov. Phil Scott and the Department of Public Service recently announced a collaboration with several partners that will increase internet access by means of public Wi-Fi hotspots for dozens of rural towns in Vermont.
Deployment is already underway with installation of devices through this initiative soon being offered locally at the Wardsboro Town Hall and Library, the Readsboro Town Office and School, and the Athens Town Office.
Corporate partners in the project include Microsoft, which funded the hardware and its installation; RTO Wireless; and Up and Running I.T. Public host institutions need to have existing broadband service and agree to host the equipment.
At the outset of the COVID-19 emergency, the DPS published a public Wi-Fi hotspot map on its website to assist Vermonters with finding internet access. The map identifies places where people can access free public wireless internet options from a car to maintain appropriate social distancing.
A review of that data found that 38 small towns and gores across the state had no identified suitably socially distant and publicly available Wi-Fi.
The Department reached out to public schools, libraries, and town halls about partnering to have public Wi-Fi installed for their communities, with more than 50 communities making queries, according to the news release.