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Improving connectivity in Alberta

Press Release

Dec 20, 2022

The Alberta Broadband Fund (ABF) is now accepting applications for its first funding stream.

Alberta’s government remains committed to connecting households and communities with reliable high-speed internet by 2027. As more aspects of our everyday lives move into the digital space, staying connected to family, community, as well as educational and economic opportunities is more important than ever.

Initially announced as part of the Alberta Broadband Strategy, Alberta’s government has allocated $36 million to the ABF, which will expand access to financial support for rural broadband to ensure that no community is left behind.

“Many communities have expressed concerns that federally mapped internet speeds – a critical component of Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) application evaluation – are inaccurate in their area, preventing them from accessing necessary funding support. To ensure no household is left behind, the ABF’s first application intake will support projects in communities where this discrepancy can be proven.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation

“It is essential that all Albertans have access to reliable, high-speed internet. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and reliable internet services help job creators and make it easier to build a career anywhere in Alberta.”

Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development

The ABF has two funding streams that each target a different priority: covering areas not experiencing minimal federal target speeds, despite federal service map claims, and communities who did not apply or qualify for the UBF. Through this program, Alberta’s government is going the extra mile to help bridge the digital divide so every rural, remote and Indigenous household in the province can access high-speed internet.

“Increased access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet is a priority for Alberta Municipalities and its members – especially its smaller and more remote member communities. Now that the Alberta Broadband Stream is live, we look forward to seeing improved connectivity across the province.”

Cathy Heron, president, Alberta Municipalities

“RMA commends the Government of Alberta on creating the Alberta Broadband Fund (ABF) to help close the significant gaps in rural internet access that continue to exist in the province. The ABF will help to fill a very real need by providing targeted funding support to those underserved communities and households that have fallen through the cracks of federal funding programs. This has the potential to be a significant investment in enabling rural Alberta to thrive.”

Paul McLauchlin, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

Additional application intakes will open in early 2023 to support remote households and communities that did not apply to or did not qualify for the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF).

The ABF further enhances the Alberta Broadband Strategy, which estimates that the province will realize up to $1.7 billion in annual GDP growth three years after reaching universal connectivity.

Quick facts

  • The ABF will accept applications in three intakes:
    • Stream 1 will focus on closing community connectivity gaps and will have two intakes:
      • The Service Availability Challenges intake will support communities where delivered internet speeds are below the federal target of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads, despite federally mapped service availability claims indicating target speeds are available.
      • The Community / Internet Service Provider (ISP) Applications intake will fund net-new applications in underserved communities that did not apply or were not eligible for the UBF.
    • Stream 2 will provide underserved households with a one-time grant to offset the costs of adopting high-speed internet.
  • To ensure public investment can connect as many households as possible, communities and service providers will not qualify for the ABF if they are recipients of any other federal or provincial broadband funding programs. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • UBF, including its Rapid Response Stream
    • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Broadband Fund

Related information

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