Prairie Post (West Edition)
Over 50 communities to receive broadband funding
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
• The communities that will benefit from improved internet speeds include:
✦ Arcadia (Sucker Creek)
✦ Brocket (Piikani Nation)
✦ Bay Tree
✦ Blueberry Mountain
✦ 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)
✦ Gift Lake
✦ High Prairie
✦ Horse Lake First Nation
✦ Jean Côté
✦ Little Bow Resort
✦ Rainbow Lake
✦ Swan River First Nation
✦ Salt Prairie
✦ Sunset House
✦ Siksika Nation
✦ Tsuut’ina Nation
✦ Viewmar Estates
• 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.