Connectivity an Issue Facing Rural Alberta Communities

Connectivity an Issue Facing Rural Alberta Communities

Michelle Pinon
News Advertiser

On March 15 Rogers Communications announced a $26 million agreement to combine the company with Shaw Communications.

According to Rogers Communications, “This transaction will create Canada’s most robust wholly-owned national network, and as a result of the combined teams and enhanced capacity, will generate more choice and competitions for businesses, as well as realizing the full benefits of next generation networks for Canadians and Canada’s productivity.

Once the transaction is complete, the companies plan to invest $2.5 million in 5G networks across Western Canada, which is expected to create up to 3,000 net new jobs. Rogers will also commit to establishing a new $1 billion Rogers Rural and Indigenous Connectivity Fund to connect rural, remote, and Indigenous communities across Western Canada to high-speed Internet and closing critical connectivity gaps faster for underserved areas.”

Bob Bezpalko, Executive Director of the Northeast Alberta Information HUB, said they will have to wait and see what happens as there is a long process they have to go through to make it official.

Bezpalko said rural communities have always lacked choice which affects the cost. “Rogers does not have a strong rural presence as they focus on high population areas, urbans.”

Alberta HUB, along with other Rural Economic Development Alliances, have been involved with broadband and internet access in communities throughout the province. They are hosting a free online forum for residents, businesses, and public organizations across Alberta on March 23 and 24.

The event is hosted by the Alberta Rural Connectivity Coalition which advocates for universal access to high-speed internet at an affordable price for all Albertans, including those living in rural, remote, First Nations and Metis Settlements.