Foothills MP pleased rural communities getting Internet access

·1 min read

With in-person gatherings increasing the spread of Covid-19, almost every sector of society has needed to shift its operations into a virtual format through the Internet. The move has revealed areas where Internet access is lacking, particularly for rural communities across Canada.

To address the problem, the federal government is teaming up with Telus to offer the Universal Broadband Fund. The UBF was first announced in 2019, but was delayed until this past November.

The funding is a key part of Canada's connectivity strategy, which aims to provide all Canadians with access to Internet speeds of at least 50 megabits per second. Applications for the program ended on March 15.

On March 16, Foothills MP John Barlow announced that the communities of Bragg Creek, Stavely and Blackie had been selected to improve their broadband access.

“This investment is a necessity for these communities, and will help ensure our rural communities remain strong and resilient during these difficult times,” Mr. Barlow said.

“It will also provide the opportunity for these communities to attract new businesses, which is critical to grow our rural economy.”

The three Foothills communities are part of Telus’s $16 billion investment in rural Alberta that will see 47 communities receive better Internet connections.

“These investments,” said Shazia Zeb Sobani, vice-president of customer network implementation for Telus, “will ensure that Albertans in more remote parts of our province have equal access to the educational, health, and economic opportunities that high-speed broadband provides.”

About 600 households and businesses in the three municipalities will have access to high-speed Internet by Nov. 15, 2021.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze