In an increasingly digital world, access to reliable, high-speed internet is more crucial than ever. It helps Albertans connect with family and friends and opens the door to a wider range of economic and educational opportunities.
Building on the goal to connect every part of the province to high-speed internet by 2027, Alberta’s government has launched a limited time pilot that will deploy satellite internet technology to some of the most remote and underserved communities.
As the federal government delays launching projects and allocating funding, Alberta’s government is taking action to explore new innovations and technologies, including satellites, to reach full connectivity by 2027.
Residents and businesses of County of Forty Mile, County of Warner No. 5 and Cardston County can apply to be part of the pilot, which will test the use of satellite internet technology instead of fibre and fixed wireless technologies.
“Advancing satellite internet technology in Alberta is an important milestone and an innovative way to achieve our goal of universal connectivity by 2027. Today, connectivity is everything and Alberta’s government is proud to provide rural Alberta with another option to eliminate the connectivity gap.”
In addition to connecting more Albertans to the internet, the pilot will provide feedback that will help shape future programs to connect the hardest to reach and underserved communities. The pilot is limited to households and businesses located in specific areas in the counties where land-based internet infrastructure is not yet possible. Only underserved households and businesses within the designated areas who meet the criteria are eligible for the pilot.
“Access to high-speed internet is vital to economic growth in rural communities, and this pilot program represents another way that communities that don’t have fibre connections can get access to critical connectivity quickly.”
“We are thrilled for our fellow residents in the southern reaches of the County of Forty Mile to have the chance to experience high-speed internet, opening up new possibilities in their farming and ranching endeavours. This advancement ensures that even in our rural landscape, where connectivity has been a challenge, our agricultural community can harness the benefits of technology for greater efficiency and innovation. This is not just about connectivity, it's about cultivating a technology-enabled agricultural landscape for generations to come.”
Residents and businesses of County of Forty Mile, County of Warner No. 5 and Cardston County have until March 31, 2024, to apply to be part of the program. Eligible Albertans can order the equipment and subsequently apply for a rebate of up to $1,000 that covers the cost of the Starlink hardware, shipping and taxes.
- Currently the only high-speed low-earth-orbit operating in Alberta is Starlink by SpaceX. In the future, other providers such as Telesat’s Lightspeed and Amazon’s Kuiper may offer services in Alberta and may qualify for a future rebate program.
- Alberta's government is working to improve access to reliable high-speed (50 megabits per second download/10 megabits per second upload or better) internet for remote, rural communities. The Alberta Broadband Strategy aims to provide access to connectivity across the province by 2027.
- 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.