South Peace News
Several communities in the High Prairie, Falher and McLennan regions will soon have access to high-speed internet.
Major funding for the project was announced by the provincial and federal governments.
The Alberta government is committed to eliminate the digital divide and ensure all Albertans have access to reliable high-speed internet, says a news release from the provincial government dated Sept. 23.
The funding allocation by the governments is for projects that qualify for the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF).
Funding is earmarked for projects to serve Jousssard, High Prairie, Enilda, Salt Prairie, Faust, Kinuso and Sunset House in the Big Lakes County region.
Sucker Creek First Nation, Driftpile Cree Nation, Gift Lake Metis Settlement and Swan River First Nation have also been designated for projects.
The hamlets of Guy and Jean Cote in the M.D. of Smoky River have also been designated.
The 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.
Together, the governments of Canada and Alberta have committed $780 million to eliminate the digital divide in Alberta.
Alberta Rural Economic Development, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Nate Horner says the money brings hope to thousands of Albertans who live in some of the province’s most under-served 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 to help them attract newcomers to sustain and grow and allow our farmers to compete on the world stage.”
Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish agrees.
“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,” Glubish says.
“A reliable internet connection unlocks access to the essential services we rely on today, supporting everything from online learning to better home health care.
“The announcement is just the first of many to come and represents another step towards our goal to ensure universal connectivity for all families and businesses in Alberta.”
The broadband strategy is expected to generate up to 1,500 jobs during construction.
Within three years of achieving universal coverage and building services, high-speed internet is expected to add up to 2,000 long-term service industry jobs.