Federal and Provincial Budgets
Alberta spending $390 million to bring high-speed Internet to remote areas
By Talent Canada
Alberta is spending $390 million over four years to bring high-speed Internet to rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
The province announced the investment as part of Budget 2022, and said it supports the Alberta Broadband Strategy – a plan to ensure every family, household, business and community can access reliable high-speed Internet.
“Improving access to high-speed broadband will help the province move forward toward a technology and innovation-focused future where every Albertan can participate in and benefit from Alberta’s recovery and economic diversification,” said Premier Jason Kenney.” It’s the next step for Alberta.”
Alberta’s Broadband Strategy aims to connect every home and business to high-speed internet by the end of the 2026-27 fiscal year.Advertisement
Universal access to high-speed internet will bring a number of economic and social benefits to Alberta’s underserved communities, from improving access to telehealth services to attracting private sector investment, the province said in a press release.
Approximately three years after achieving universal coverage and adoption of services, it is expected:
- annual GDP will rise between $500 million and $1.7 billion
- the agricultural sector’s GDP will grow up to five per cent, resulting from adoption of AgTech
- 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
The federal government has committed to match $150 million, and Alberta’s government continues to work to secure a matching agreement for an additional $240 million.
Approximately 489,000 Albertans living in 201,000 households lack access to federal target speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.
Approximately 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 Alberta’s Metis Settlements can access federal target speeds.
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