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VCBB to Host Listening Sessions on Digital Equity

VCBB wants to know the problems you have using the internet. This call for public comment is to inform a plan to make sure all Vermonters have access to the internet and the devices and training they need to use it effectively and safely. In order to make the best plan possible, VCBB wants to know about the current problems and barriers people are facing.

There are many ways to give input, whether you currently have internet access or not. You can write to VCBB, 112 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620, call (800) 622-4496, fill out this Request for Input, or email comments to vcbb.info@vermont.gov.

VCBB is partnering with NEKCA and other Community Action Agencies to host a series of public listening sessions. The first is Friday, October 20, at 115 Lincoln Street in St. Johnsbury from 2:00 to 4:00. There will be two next week: Tuesday, October 24, at 228 North Winooski Avenue in Burlington from 2:30 to 4:30 and Friday, October 27, at 20 Gable Place in Barre from 1:00 to 3:00.

VCBB is also offering the opportunity to participate virtually in listening sessions. The first will be Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30 p.m. It’s open to everyone and the link to join will be on VCBB’s website. The sessions will be held monthly through the end of the year.

In addition to listening sessions, VCBB is doing targeted outreach, including focus groups, and partnering with government agencies already doing equity work.

“We are creating our plan to center on the needs of Vermonters. It is important to us that we are hearing directly from Vermonters about what is working and what is challenging about using the internet. We want to know about the device(s) Vermonters are using, the strength of their internet connection, their knowledge in using their device(s), navigating the internet, and how affordable the internet is. We are committed to finding solutions that will make a difference and close the digital divide,” said VCBB Digital Equity Officer Britaney Watson.

Part of ensuring digital equity for Vermonters is making sure communities have reliable places people can go to access the internet. Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) are places that “facilitate greater use of broadband service by vulnerable populations,” such as schools, libraries, health clinics, and many more.

You can go to the new interactive map of all current CAIs in Vermont. There you can find the CAIs in your community, make sure the information about them is correct, add anything that should be there, and/or improve the information listed. You can also provide feedback on the CAIs by calling (800) 622-4496 or writing to VCBB, 112 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620.

The listening sessions and events are listed on our website, Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program and Digital Equity Act | Department of Public Service (vermont.gov).

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