Prairie Post (West Edition)
Rural broadband gets some help in all of southern Alberta
The Alberta government has announced $150 million dollars to be used to improve broadband for rural residents.
“This has been a target of Minister Glubish since since we got elected, he’s been doing great work on the file,” said Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development Nate Horner in an interview. “The CRTC, they have some bold goals federally for Rural Internet across Canada and we’re not going to get there without some pretty cool investment to get the ball rolling.”
“There’s a lot of projects that are already being pushed by private enterprise in the province,” said Horner. “So right now, I think the goal of Minister Glubish is to work through those projects, and plan out how this next construction season will go, that’s the goal. Do the planning now, before the next construction season. The principles that will guide minister Glubish will be that they want to maximize the amount of households and small businesses that will be touched by the investments. They want to maximize private investment, leverage that as much as we can. Third, and this is really important, is I think they’re gonna try to ensure that there’s some regional equity and regional fairness, we do want to make sure that this first tranche of investment does benefit every quarter, the province at least in some way.”
Telecommunications companies will be playing a large role in the project, as well.
“It’ll be just trying to leverage all of these, this this government investment [...] and then tie that into the telco ongoing projects and then just try to piece it all together for the maximum benefit. I’m sure I’m sure it’ll be tricky, but it’ll be worth it,” said Horner.
“I know, in conversations with the Rural Municipalities Association, that this was their number one issue, this is what they were lobbying for,” said Horner. “I think we see in rural Alberta, this being a real real game changer for trying to level the playing field, across the province, you know, especially coming out of COVID. We’re trying to spur economic growth, everywhere, we want Alberta’s economic recovery to be enjoyed in every corner of the province. And we see this as a very integral piece to that people can live anywhere if they can, if they can run their business from small town Alberta, then it’s just a lifestyle choice at that point.”