A $4 million state grant aims to bring high-speed broadband to thousands of Vermonters with limited access to online health, education and work opportunities, the state’s Department of Public Service announced Thursday.

Pandemic-related shutdowns have accelerated the state’s decade-long goal of expanding broadband connections — currently defined as 25 Mbps per second downloads and 3 Mbps uploads.

“As Vermonters adapt to working, learning, and receiving healthcare remotely, broadband internet service has become even more of an essential part of everyday life,” DPS Commissioner June Tierney wrote