Low density satellite solution ensures access for Albertans
The Alberta government is looking to the land and sky to provide reliable, high-speed Internet access to Albertans in unserviced rural areas.
The provincial government is committing $10.5 million toward making high-speed Internet available to an estimated 43,600 households currently without access using a variety of approaches, including satellite, wireless and other technologies.
“This $10.5 million in funding is the next step in our government’s Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative to ensure Albertans have access to high-speed Internet available no matter where they live in the province,” said Manmeet Bhullar, minister of Service Alberta. “We are delivering on Premier Redford’s commitment that at least 98 per cent of Albertans have access to this vital service.
In fact, with the low-density satellite solution alone, 97 per cent of Albertans will have access by Summer 2012.”
The province is committing $9.5 million to support work with Internet service providers to add infrastructure to the remainder of unserviced areas in rural Alberta, including the extreme north and south of the province, and expand the reach of high-speed Internet. A Request for Comments with draft bidding guidelines will be posted shortly.
Tenders for service in these areas will be released later this year through an open and competitive procurement process following the Request for Comments.
The technology to reach unserviced parts of the province will be determined based on what works best for a specific area and on what infrastructure is already available in the region.
The Government of Alberta is also making up to $900,000 available for a remote area satellite solution that will reduce the distance costs of accessing high-speed Internet for Albertans living in low-density, remote areas of the province.
The government is sharing this plan with municipalities, ISPs and other interested parties to seek input and maximize the benefit of the program. Albertans living in remote areas will be able to access improved satellite services at a reduced cost by this summer.
“Access to high-speed Internet is essential for all Albertans,” said Evan Berger, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This initiative will help bring service to unserviced areas – keeping people connected and helping to ensure continued economic competitiveness and vitality of our rural communities.”
The $10.5 million for the Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative is in addition to the $5-million Rural Community Program announced in January to support local governments that plan to provide high-speed Internet in their communities.