Expanding Broadband Internet in Rural Alberta
July 22, 2021 Provincial Media Release
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, Alberta’s government will invest up to $150 million to expand and improve broadband internet in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
Currently, about 80 per cent of Indigenous communities and 67 per cent of rural communities do not have access to the high-speed internet targets set by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
The $150 million from the Government of Alberta will be used to begin construction on broadband expansion projects as soon as possible. Details on how this new funding will roll out will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Our economic recovery needs to include Alberta’s rural, remote and Indigenous communities. This investment ensures individuals, families and businesses in these parts of the province will not be left behind. It is Alberta’s way of saying that we’re ready to invest in this important technology and we’re looking forward to working with our partners to make it a reality for those in Alberta who need it.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“Alberta’s rural communities have struggled to grow and compete in a modern economy without access to reliable, high-speed internet. This investment will create jobs, improve access to health care and education resources, and diversify the economy in rural Alberta. This is great news for families, students and job creators all across the province.”
Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta
“Increasing access to broadband is vital to revitalizing rural communities and jump-starting economic growth. From La Crete to Taber, this will bring jobs and investment to villages, towns and Indigenous communities across rural Alberta.”
Nate Horner, Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development
“Better connectivity in our communities means that Indigenous people will have better access to the global economy, health and education. This will help ensure that all Albertans have the same opportunities.”
Chief Billy Morin, Enoch Cree Nation
“Every dollar contributed to specifically addressing rural broadband addresses the significant digital poverty that rural Albertans experience. RMA feels this is one of the most effective investments to growing communities, supporting business and for supporting the future of modern agriculture and resource development. Rural Albertans will be pleased that they have been heard.”
Paul McLauchlin, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta
“Access to reliable broadband internet is key to helping Albertans access greater opportunity in every field, across the province. This investment means that Alberta can continue to highlight its entrepreneurial spirit and grow in prosperity.”
Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a plan to breathe new life into Alberta’s economy and create new opportunities for every Albertan. It’s a plan to build, to diversify, and to create jobs.
In 2016, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) declared broadband an essential telecommunications service and set targets to connect every Canadian home and business to minimum network speeds by 2030:
- 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads
- 10 Mbps for uploads
- Approximately 201,000 Alberta households – the equivalent of 12 per cent of the population – do not have access to target speeds set by the CRTC.
- Approximately 80 per cent of Alberta’s Indigenous households and 67 per cent of rural households do not have access to CRTC target speeds for internet, which lags behind Canada-wide rates of 54.4 per cent and 65.2 per cent, respectively.
- The total cost of expanding rural broadband internet to underserved areas of the province is estimated at $1 billion and Alberta’s government is working with the federal government and the private sector to share the cost.
- In November 2020, the Government of Canada launched the Universal Broadband Fund, $2.75 billion to support high-speed internet projects across the country.
Press Secretary, Service Alberta