Getting your Business or Town Online
Broadband access and use are high priority issues for many towns in the Two Rivers region. For this reason, it’s important to:
- Consider your community’s current assets (in terms of broadband infrastructure and access) and determine what additional services are needed.Communities can actively plan for broadband infrastructure development by forming a local group to aggregate demand and work with local providers. Many communities have done this in our region and this has resulted in the ECFiber and WAVECOMM networks.
- Find ways to support residents’ and businesses’ adoption and use of broadband.
There are many ways that your community can help support residents’ and local businesses’ adoption and use of broadband. Here are a few existing resources and/or programs:
Developing a strong, local economy is a priority for many Vermonters. Communities can engage in this work by helping business owners expand their digital presence. This can be done by building a website, using social media to market products, communicating through e-mails and online forums with customers—the possibilities are infinite. For instance,
Small businesses can create a website for free with the help of Google staff in Vermont. To learn more, visit:
The Business Toolkit developed by e-Vermont & the Vermont Small Business Development Center offers useful information, webinars, and workshops on topics such as “Business Website Basics,” “Social Media and Mobile Marketing,” and much more. To learn more, visit:
Not every individual in your town will have access to a computer or high-speed internet at home, and even some of those who do have access, might not know how to effectively use it. This is what is commonly called ‘the Digital Divide’ or the gap between those people who have access and can utilize it, and those who do not. The digital divide impacts people of all ages and backgrounds, everyone from children to elders. To close the gap and increase digital literacy, your community can support the local library. Libraries are one of the best resources for closing the digital divide and enhancing patrons’ digital literacy. Many libraries provide public access to computers and high-speed internet, as well as technical assistance and computer-related classes. You can find the website and contact information for your local library on the state’s comprehensive list.
For Town Government:
Many towns are utilizing broadband access to convey information to the public (through the creation of a municipal website) or are supportive (though not necessarily the creators) of an online community list-serve for residents to share updates, events, job announcements, and more. Municipal officials who are interested in advancing broadband use in the day-to-day operation of the town can check out the following resources:
Many communities either have an e-mail listserv or are utilizing an online forum (like Front Porch Forum to facilitate conversations between neighbors).
Municipal officials can go to the Snelling Center for Government’s E-Government Help Center for Vermont Towns, which offers best practices for creating a municipal website, including a municipal website template, as well as sample privacy policies, social media policies, web administrator job descriptions, and much more.