The Alberta government announced in July it was committing $150 million toward expanded broadband in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, and now the federal government said in a memo of understanding it would match that amount. In a news release, the government said closing the digital divide is critical to ensuring Alberta’s economic recovery reaches every home, business and community.
"Albertans living outside major urban centres have been at a digital disadvantage because of unreliable broadband, but we are building partnerships to end that. Connectivity is on the horizon," said Minister of Service Alberta Nate Glubish.
"Bringing reliable, high-speed internet access to underserved households in Alberta will create jobs, improve access to health care and online learning services, and keep people connected to their loved ones. Our government has committed over $7.2 billion to ensure all Canadians are connected to the internet," added Gudie Hutchings, federal Minister of Rural Economic Development.
To completely bridge the digital divide, it is estimated $1 billion of public and private funds will be required.
Currently, there are about 201,000 households in Alberta without access to high-speed internet. Approximately 80 per cent of Alberta’s Indigenous households and 67 per cent of rural households do not have access to CRTC target speeds for Internet, which lags behind Canada-wide rates of 54.4 per cent and 65.2 per cent, respectively.