The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is making grant money available to help provide broadband Internet access to Vermont libraries.
The money is expected to be used as the state’s match for federal funding the state will seek in early 2010 under the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
Gov. Jim Douglas, who announced the grant from the Gates Foundation, said the money will enable the state to make a significant step toward its goal of becoming an "e-state," with broadband Internet and cell phone service from border to border.
Vermont has some catching up to do. The state Department of Libraries estimates that only 20 percent of Vermont’s public libraries meet the national standard for library connectivity.