National Foundation Funds Burlington’s Civic Cloud, Providing Public Internet Platform at Gigabit Speeds for Innovative Community Organizers, Nonprofits & Civic Hackers

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced that it has awarded a $35,000 Knight Prototype Fund grant to the Civic Cloud Collaborative. Launched by a group of eight local organizations to build a “Civic Cloud” on Burlington’s gigabit network, the project will be a tool for innovative community organizers, nonprofits and civic hackers to develop public, non-commercial Internet applications. The Knight Foundation grant will be used to construct a prototype of the Civic Cloud over the next six months. The first of its kind, the Civic Cloud combines Burlington’s fiber-optic gigabit network and donated servers to build a public access Internet platform available to the community for non-commercial Internet applications and digital creative works.

The Civic Cloud takes advantage of Burlington Telecom’s gigabit Internet speeds—over 100 times the average national broadband speed. The Civic Cloud will complement the work of BTV Ignite, a partnership between US Ignite and the City of Burlington. BTV Ignite is an initiative to use Burlington’s gigabit infrastructure as a tool, testbed, and accelerator for economic, educational and community benefit.

“Today’s announcement is further evidence of Burlington’s growing reputation as a green, tech City able to leverage tremendous community resources through partnerships like BTV Ignite to catalyze economic development that benefits our City. The Civic Cloud will help make our impressive network available for greater public use,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “I am grateful for Knight Foundation’s grant, and optimistic about the potential that resides here in Burlington.”

The Civic Cloud Collaborative includes eight forward-thinking organizations working to create civic and public spaces within Burlington’s gigabit network.

The Civic Cloud Collaborative is comprised of Big Heavy World, CCTV Center for Media & Democracy, Channel 17 / Town Meeting Television, Code for BTV (a Code for America Brigade), Found Line, Laboratory B, Regional Educational Technology Network (RETN), and Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM).

CCTV’s Lauren-Glenn Davitian adds: “We are so pleased to be working with our partners to pioneer the next generation of public, educational and government access. The Civic Cloud combines the best of our community media operations, Burlington Telecom’s publicly owned gigabit network, and innovative ideas into a new public resource that will soon become a local treasure and national model.”

Several initial applications will be deployed during the prototyping phase of the Civic Cloud. High-definition live streaming will be provided for community media outlets to webcast live public meetings and cultural events. WordPress websites will be hosted for several Vermont nonprofits including rescue squads, food shelves, job banks and historical societies. A collection of volunteer-developed applications and a state-of-the-art website deployed to the Civic Cloud will help Big Heavy World preserve and promote Vermont-made music. Lakecraft, an educational, multi-user game aimed at youth and adults that gamifies the Lake Champlain Basin, will also be one of the first applications to run on the Civic Cloud.

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

The Civic Cloud in: Vermont Tech Jam Next City The Burlington Free Press Seven Days Vermont Public Radio