High-speed internet is crucial for helping Albertans stay connected with friends and family, access government services and open the door to a wider range of economic and educational opportunities.
More than 700 residents of Rainbow Lake can now enjoy the benefits of high-speed internet, following the completion of the broadband project jointly funded by the province and the federal government.
“The world just became smaller to the people of Rainbow Lake. With high-speed internet comes opportunities. Students are able to take online learning courses, small businesses are able to access a wider audience and people can seamlessly connect to loved ones. We look forward to more communities joining Rainbow Lake as we aim to connect every Albertan to high-speed internet.”
Rainbow Lake is the first among hundreds of rural remote and Indigenous communities that are being connected to high-speed internet. Currently 92 households are subscribed to the new service.
Alberta’s government is working to connect every household by 2027. In 2021, Alberta’s government allocated $390 million for broadband connectivity and secured dollar-for-dollar matching funding from the federal government, resulting in a total of $780 million. These funds will be distributed through the federal government’s Universal Broadband Fund.
“We are very excited to have Rainbow Lake enter this new chapter of reliable, high-speed internet. In our post-COVID economy, with more and more jobs transitioning to remote, work-from-home options, small towns like Rainbow Lake can now provide an environment for a professional services economy in a rural and remote area. This allows Albertans the opportunity to have any job they can perform remotely in a place where they can also afford a home, breathe fresh air and look up and see the stars at night.”
“I applied and was successful at becoming the service provider for the Rainbow Lake project under the Universal Broadband Fund. I am passionate about building out our rural internet in Alberta, because for too long, rural communities have been so underserved in many areas of service. It’s time we open up these opportunities for them to participate in our digital economy.”
Under the Universal Broadband Fund, the Alberta and federal governments have so far awarded an estimated $200 million to 18 projects covering more than 15,000 households in more than 90 communities. While both governments are partnering in this work, the projects are chosen by the federal government and must go through the federal application process to be selected.
- Within three years of achieving universal coverage and adoption of services, these economic outcomes are expected:
- Up to $1.7 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
- Up to five per cent GDP growth in the agricultural sector resulting from adopting agricultural technologies.
- Up to 2,000 long-term service industry jobs may be created in rural communities.
- Up to 40,000 Albertans without access to a primary health care provider may have improved access to telehealth, and the cost to deliver those services will be reduced.
- More than 120,000 students will have improved access to remote education.