Table of contents

Overview

As part of the Alberta Broadband Strategy, we have committed $36 million to the Alberta Broadband Fund (ABF) to help ensure every rural, remote, and Indigenous household in the province can access high-speed internet.

This funding is part of Alberta’s overall $390-million commitment to improve access to high-speed internet. It will be used to implement solutions to connect rural, remote, and Indigenous communities that do not currently have access to federal target speeds of 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads, and 10 Mbps for uploads.

It introduces multiple streams that address key priorities to help us bridge connectivity gaps left by the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF).

Eligibility

The ABF is using many of the same eligibility and assessment criteria requirements used for the UBF. For example, we will be using the same definitions for eligible applicants and eligible activities.

The ABF is open to eligible applicants, including Canadian corporations, municipalities, Indigenous entities, and partnerships of those groups.

It supports projects that extend or enhance household access to high-speed internet services in areas with speeds less than federal targets of 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. Funding for these projects is currently available until March 31, 2027.

The ABF provides funding for new broadband projects in Alberta. To be eligible, a project cannot have an application for federal or other broadband projects currently in progress.

Each stream will also define its own specific requirements.

Stream 1

Stream 1 will centre on closing connectivity gaps in currently underserved communities. There will be 2 separate application intakes that target specific priorities.

Intake 1: Service Availability Challenges

The first intake, Service Availability Challenges, will address 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.

To be eligible for funding, applicants will be required to prove that mapped speeds are inaccurate. Submissions will require applicant verification that broadband services are:

  • Not and will not be available through current service providers
  • Not accessible to a sizable portion of existing or new households in the area

Applicant verification is required before proceeding with a request for ABF funding and may require a challenge submission for federal broadband review:

Applications are open from December 20, 2022, to March 20, 2023. To begin the application process, register at the ABF portal.

Government staff will follow up on every registration to offer a one-on-one consultation to discuss current federal mapping speeds and any areas the application is planning to challenge. Additional meetings may be scheduled, where required.

Eligibility

In addition to the basic eligibility outlined above, an application:

  • Must be submitted by a community or internet service provider
  • Must use ABF templates to provide evidence that clearly demonstrates minimal federal target speeds are not available from any service providers in the area
  • Must receive written endorsement of the evidence from Government of Alberta staff

A written endorsement is required for application submission.

To be eligible for funding once a written endorsement is secured, an application:

  • Must improve internet speeds in an area that does not have access 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads.
  • Must not include areas with access to federal target speeds, except for areas where challenges have been endorsed.
  • Must provide open access to Points of Presence that are components of the project.
  • Must not include any areas or households that are recipients of any other federal or provincial broadband funding programs. Examples include but are not limited to:

Intake 2: Community / Internet Service Provider (ISP) Applications

The second intake, Community / ISP Applications, will invite applications from communities and internet service providers for underserved households not included in applications for broadband funding programs like UBF, CRTC broadband fund and UBF Rapid Response Stream.

More information, including specific eligibility criteria, will be shared when applications open in 2023.

Stream 2

Stream 2 will support the most remote and hardest to connect households that will not benefit from other broadband expansion projects. A limited number of remote households will be eligible to apply for a one-time grant to off-set the cost of adopting high-speed internet.

More information, including specific eligibility criteria, will be shared when applications open in 2023.

Contact

To connect with the Alberta Broadband Fund: 

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-427-2711
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: [email protected]

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