The Vermont Telecommunications Authority has been awarded a $1.6 million federal grant to expand cellular phone service and provide wireless internet in areas hit by flooding in 2011.
The disaster relief grant from the U.S. Department of Economic Development will help pay for expansion of cell service along 120 miles of roadway in five Vermont counties including Addison, Essex, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties.
It will also fund the creation of wireless internet hotspots in 9 towns. The towns include Dover, Halifax, Hancock, Norton, Rochester, Roxbury, Stockbridge, Townshend and Whitingham.
The systems will be built to operate on backup systems in the event of power outages.
When Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont in August of 2011, a number of towns were isolated when roads were washed out and power was cut off. A lack of cell service made it difficult for residents to communicate with the outside world.