Four communities in rural Alberta will benefit from faster Internet

News release

Residents to get new or faster Internet access thanks to Government of Canada investment

August 9, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadians understand the importance of building communities. They have always invested in ways to better connect with each other—from the St. Lawrence Seaway to the national railroad system to the Trans-Canada Highway. Those investments now need to reflect the increasingly digital world.

That is why the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, today announced funding of $2.37 million for Arrow Technology Group and $1.26 million for GPNetworks to bring new or improved high-speed Internet access and capacity to four communities in rural Alberta. In addition to the Government of Canada investment, Arrow Technology Group is contributing $899,000 and GPNetworks is contributing $466,000, bringing the total investment to $5 million.

The additional high-speed Internet projects in Alberta are possible thanks to the top-up to the Connect to Innovate program announced in Budget 2019. As a result of this funding, residents of Sunchild First Nation at O’Chiese, Big Lakes County, Elmworth and Grovedale will be able to connect with family and friends, do business online, participate in distance education and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the digital age.

Connect to Innovate is investing in building the digital backbone of high-speed Internet networks. Backbone networks are the digital highways that move data in and out of communities. These highways carry large amounts of data that are essential for schools, hospitals, libraries and businesses to function in a digital world.

The funding announced today builds on numerous steps the Government of Canada has taken to improve Internet access for Canadians. High-speed Internet access is essential for Canadians in rural and remote communities to thrive in the digital economy. High-Speed Access for All: Canada’s Connectivity Strategy is the Government’s plan to ensure that, over time, all Canadians will have access to affordable high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. It also commits to improving mobile wireless coverage where Canadians live and work, as well as along major highways and roads.

Quotes

“Broadband Internet service is key for the prosperity of rural Canadian communities. This project will allow residents in these four Alberta communities to be better connected to friends, family, school and businesses, as well as have better access to online services and tools. By providing better broadband connections, we are increasing the potential for economic growth and diversification and enhancing the quality of life in small and rural communities.”
– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“The assistance of the Connect to Innovate program will enable these communities to have Internet speeds that are closer to what is available in urban communities. These communities are appreciative of the increased Internet coverage and bandwidth. The Connect to Innovate program brings long-term positive impacts.”
– Lyndon Lobo, Managing Partner, Arrow Technology Group

“GPNetworks has been providing both wireless and fiber optic Internet to rural communities in the County of Grande Prairie No. 1 and the Municipal District of Greenview for over 15 years. We know firsthand the struggles these communities face with poor or no Internet. Programs like Connect to Innovate go a long way to improving Internet services to the extent that it competes with and even exceeds the services provided in bigger cities. This is to the benefit of households, businesses, farmers, healthcare workers and home schooling providers, to name a few.”
– Kobus De Jager, CEO, GPNetworks

Quick facts

  • The companies receiving federal funding are:

    • Arrow Technology Group LP Limited—just over $2.37 million to provide the communities of Sunchild First Nation at O’Chiese and Big Lakes County with access to high-speed Internet services, and
    • GPNetworks—just over $1.26 million to improve high-speed Internet service for the communities of Elmworth and Grovedale.
  • In Budget 2019, the Government proposed historic investments of up to $6 billion for high-speed connectivity and committed to topping up Connect to Innovate as part of this funding.

  • Through Connect to Innovate, the Government is extending high-speed Internet service to over 900 rural and remote communities, of which 190 are Indigenous. Connect to Innovate projects have the potential to impact up to 380,000 households. Announcements on further investments will be forthcoming.

  • Rural Opportunity, National Prosperity: An Economic Development Strategy for Rural Canada outlines ways to maximize federal investments to improve the quality and resiliency of community infrastructure, create good jobs, support trade and investment, strengthen skills, and welcome newcomers in rural communities.

  • Through the $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, Canada’s rural and northern communities are benefiting from the renewal of public infrastructure, which includes investments in roads, bridges and highways; water treatment systems; cleaner, more affordable sources of electricity; stormwater systems; and natural barriers that reduce the risk of flooding brought on by extreme weather events.

    • $2 billion of this funding is supporting infrastructure projects that meet the unique needs of rural and northern communities; and
    • $400 million is being delivered through the Arctic Energy Fund to deliver cleaner, more affordable electricity to residents living in Canada’s territories.

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Contacts

Émilie Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development
613-864-7690
emilie.simard3@canada.ca

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
613-960-9251
1-877-250-7154 (toll-free)
infc.media.infc@canada.ca

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