Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) wants to hear from you. VCBB has released Vermont’s draft Digital Equity Plan and wants your comments on how to improve it.
“We are listening, and what you say matters. We’re making this plan to serve all Vermonters. In order to do that, we need to hear from as many people as possible, especially people from communities that have traditionally been marginalized. We want to know what the real-life problems and barriers are so that we can do our best to solve them,” said VCBB Digital Equity Officer Britaney Watson.
The Digital Equity Plan serves as the state’s vision and strategy for digital equity, which means that everyone has access to the internet, as well as the devices and skills to use it effectively and safely. The plan includes a digital equity needs assessment, asset inventory, and implementation plan. It prepares Vermont for federal grant funds to carry out the plan and details activities, key performance indicators, and partnerships.
A central piece in developing the plan is gathering data on the experience and barriers of people who fall within the Covered Populations from the Digital Equity Act. Covered Populations include people who live in low-income households (income up to 150% of poverty level), aging individuals (60+), people who are members of racial or ethnic minorities, veterans, people with disabilities, people with a language barrier or who have low levels of literacy, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated individuals, and people who live in a rural area. 96% of Vermonters fall into at least one of these categories.
You can submit comments by email to email@example.com, write to VCBB, 112 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620, or call (800) 622-4496.
We have a virtual listening session coming up on Thursday, December 14 at 6:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. This is the link to attend. We also have a series of focus groups scheduled over the next couple weeks for each Covered Population. Sign-up is required for participation in the focus groups (but not the listening sessions). You can sign up with this form.
You have until December 31, 2023, to comment on the Draft Digital Equity Plan. You can find this information, listening session and focus group information, and more on our website Digital Equity | Department of Public Service (vermont.gov)