HALIFAX -- The Broadband Committee is currently looking for businesses in town that would benefit from improved Internet service.
The committee, which has recently changed its charge to include economic development, was presented with information about possible assistance through the Vermont Telecommunications Authority. The VTA is looking to establish Broadband Business Improvement Districts in towns around Vermont.
"They're very vague about what a district is," said committee member Gretchen Becker. "One definition (says a district can be) three businesses within a certain area."
She told the Reformer that the definition of these districts does include home businesses but she wasn't sure just how big the business must be.
The Halifax Broadband Committee will be searching for businesses to include in a proposal until Sept. 18, which is the deadline for submitting request for proposal responses. The committee will first propose a district through an application form; proposed districts that meet the criteria may be given designation through the Agency of Administration.
"Successful proposals will be eligible to receive support from the VTA in efforts to improve available broadband Internet services within those designated districts," states the VTA website. "All designated districts will be given some level of support by the VTA as it works toward identifying possible solutions."
Becker said that the committee had begun to compile a list of businesses in town that may be part of the proposed Business Broadband Improvement Districts. However, its members had not been in contact with any particular business owners yet.
She thought that creating the list of business would be a useful start for tracking potential economic development activity in town.
"There might be someone in the woods who is running a business that we don't know," said Becker.
The Broadband Committee had also looked at different grant opportunities that were available. Ultimately, the members decided not to apply.
"The chances of getting (those grants) are slim," said Becker.
For more information, visit TelecomVT.org/rfp/138.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.