Prairie Post (East Edition)

Over 50 communitie­s to receive broadband funding

- Contribute­d

The government­s of Canada and Alberta are investing $70.6 million to connect more than 10,400 homes across the province to high-speed internet.

Alberta's government is committed to eliminatin­g the digital divide and ensuring that all Albertans have access to reliable, high-speed internet. This is the first funding allocation by the government­s of Alberta and Canada for projects that qualify for the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF).

Additional announceme­nts will be made as the government continues to evaluate hundreds of projects to determine which ones can best help accomplish the government's goal of universal connectivi­ty.

This announceme­nt is part of Alberta's Broadband Strategy, a historic $390-million commitment over four years to improve access to high-speed internet in rural, remote and Indigenous communitie­s. Alberta's government thanks the federal government for their matching funding commitment­s. Together, the government­s of Canada and Alberta have committed $780 million to eliminatin­g the digital divide in Alberta.

“Improving access to high-speed internet is one of the most powerful things we can do to support rural, remote and Indigenous communitie­s across Alberta. A reliable internet connection unlocks access to the essential services we rely on every day, supporting everything from online learning to better home health care. Today's announceme­nt is just the first of many to come and represents another step towards our goal of ensuring universal connectivi­ty for all families and businesses in Alberta,” said Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta.

“We all know that internet is no longer a luxury in this day and age – it's a necessity. We need to close the connectivi­ty gap and ensure that every nook and cranny of Alberta has access to reliable high-speed Internet. This announceme­nt to connect over 10,400 households, including more than 2,700 Indigenous households, is great news for Albertans,” added Gudie Hutchings, federal Minister of Rural Economic Developmen­t.

“This announceme­nt brings hope to thousands of Albertans who live in some of our province's most underserve­d rural communitie­s. We all know that many of the educationa­l and economic opportunit­ies of the future are found online, and this funding for better broadband will help our rural communitie­s seize these opportunit­ies, which will go a long way in helping them attract newcomers to sustain and grow, and allow our farmers to compete on the world stage.”

Nate Horner, Minister of Agricultur­e, Forestry and Rural Economic Developmen­t

Quick facts

• The communitie­s that will benefit from improved internet speeds include:

➢ Arcadia (Sucker Creek)

➢ Brocket (Piikani Nation)

➢ Brant

➢ Bay Tree

➢ Blueberry Mountain

➢ Bonanza

➢ Bigstone Cree Nation

➢ Bigstone Cree (Wabasca No.166) ➢ Bigstone Cree (Wabasca No.166B) ➢ Bigstone Cree (Wabasca No.166C) ➢ Bigstone Cree (Wabasca No.166D) ➢ Big Horn 144A (7264)

➢ Bluffton

➢ Cayley

➢ Carmangay

➢ Champion

➢ Cluny

➢ Driftpile

➢ Enilda

➢ Ensign

➢ Faust

➢ Gift Lake

➢ Gordondale

➢ Guy

➢ Gleichen

➢ Herronton

➢ High Prairie

➢ Horse Lake First Nation

➢ Jean Côté

➢ Joussard

➢ Kinuso

➢ Kirkcaldy

➢ Little Bow Resort

➢ Mossleigh ➢ Namaka

➢ Queenstown

➢ Rainbow Lake

➢ Rimbey

➢ Swan River First Nation

➢ Salt Prairie

➢ Sunset House

➢ Shouldice

➢ Siksika Nation

➢ Travers

➢ Tsuut'ina Nation

➢ Viewmar Estates

➢ Vulcan

➢ Wabasca-Desmarais

➢ Watino

➢ Webster

➢ Wanham

➢ Whitburn

➢ Woking

• Alberta's Broadband Strategy is expected to generate up to 1,500 jobs during infrastruc­ture deployment.

• Within three years of achieving universal coverage and adoption of services, the following economic outcomes are expected:

➢ Up to $1.7 billion in annual GDP

growth.

➢ Up to five per cent GDP growth in the agricultur­al sector resulting from adoption of agricultur­al technologi­es. ➢ Up to 2,000 long-term service industry jobs may be created in rural communitie­s.

➢ Up to 40,000 Albertans without access to a primary health-care provider may have improved access to telehealth, and the cost to deliver those services will be reduced.

➢ More than 120,000 students will have

improved access to remote education. • Data analyzed during developmen­t of the Alberta Broadband Strategy estimated that:

➢ About 489,000 Albertans living in 201,000 households lack access to federal target speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.

➢ About 80 per cent of Indigenous communitie­s and 67 per cent of rural and remote communitie­s do not have access to reliable, high-speed internet. ➢ None of the eight Metis Settlement­s located in Alberta can access federal target speeds.

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