Albertans, get ready for digitally-communicated connections of your communities and homes to the world as Alberta will very soon ensure reliable broadband Internet access is available to every Alberta home.

“Digital literacy and broadband access are not simply individual or household concerns. The lack of access and technical savvy for some affects educational methods and outcomes, civic engagement, community networking, and economic development for the community as a whole.”

Here are some examples from rural Alberta communities transitioning to the digital age as shown in this video:

In 2009 the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMD&C) undertook a Rural Connectivity Gap Analysis by surveying ISPs and municipalities in the province and producing a coverage map. Analysis of the results suggests that:

  • 34.1% of Albertans who reside outside of the seven major urban centers did not have access to broadband internet;
  • though 90% of Alberta’s land mass has zero broadband coverage according to this report, it is noted that the majority of those areas have no population;
  • the broadband coverage map identifies areas that are served, underserved, or unserved by rural broadband providers.

Alberta’s plan for connecting rural Alberta to the world includes the following actions:

  • Providing $9.7 million to leverage the federal government’s Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program
  • This program will bring broadband Internet access to an estimated 41,000 rural Alberta households currently without broadband service or in underserved areas of the province
  • To build and operate broadband infrastructure in five rural and remote areas in Alberta
  • The matching funds from the province provides the Government of Alberta with the use of 25 telecommunications towers at no additional operating costs for 20 years and may be used by the new Alberta first responder radio system
  • The province’s funding commitment also ensures that Internet Service Providers in Alberta will have access to the towers at competitive market-based rates

Please click here for a list of grant recipients and their projects on Rural Connections: Community Broadband Infrastructure Pilot Program Approved Projects.

Broadband Internet Access Available Soon for Rural Alberta, Canada

Broadband Internet Access Available Soon for Rural Alberta, Canada

Government of Alberta, Canada

News Release

Building a Better Alberta

April 20, 2011

Connecting rural Alberta to the world

Edmonton… The Alberta government is taking another step to ensure reliable broadband Internet access is available to every Alberta home.

The province will provide $9.7 million to leverage the federal government’s Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program. Announced last year, the program will bring broadband Internet access to an estimated 41,000 rural Alberta households currently without broadband service or in underserved areas of the province.

“Access to high-speed Internet means Albertans can reach out, explore market opportunities for specialty products to a worldwide customer base, or participate in online, interactive videoconferencing from their home,” said Jack Hayden, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In May 2010, Industry Canada awarded a contract to Corridor Communications Inc. through an open, nationwide competition to build and operate broadband infrastructure in five rural and remote areas in Alberta. The matching funds from the province provides the Government of Alberta with the use of 25 telecommunications towers at no additional operating costs for 20 years and may be used by the new Alberta first responder radio system. The province’s funding commitment also ensures that Internet Service Providers in Alberta will have access to the towers at competitive market-based rates.

“Increasing access to broadband Internet is an ambitious goal, but it has far-reaching and long-term benefits for all Albertans, especially in rural and remote areas of the province. It will help us in terms of improving social and economic opportunities for individuals and industry, improving access to government services, and connecting all Albertans to the global community,” said Ray Prins, Rural Caucus chair and MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka.

The Government of Alberta is working to increase access to broadband Internet service across the province. Currently, the province along with the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association are assessing remaining gaps in service. When the assessment is complete, additional programs or initiatives will be introduced.

“The Alberta government recognizes that access to broadband services is critical to the sustainability and future development of our rural communities,” said Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk. “We are fully committed to ensuring Albertans have access to high-speed Internet wherever they live. We are pleased with the support we have received from our federal colleagues that helps brings us closer to our goal.”

The Alberta government is working to build a better Alberta by fostering economic growth, strengthening our health and education systems, investing in infrastructure, supporting safe and strong communities and ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

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Happy Internet Surfing!

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