The Alberta government sees itself as a leader in addressing rural high speed internet.
Yet they are not receiving recognition from the federal government for their long work before there were targets imposed, said Strathcona-Sherwood Park MLA Nate Glubish.
Last year, the CRTC announced it would prioritize a high speed internet project to allow Canadians access to faster broadband speeds. The universal targets they set is for 90 per cent of Canadians to have high speed internet by 2022.
But Alberta is fairly close to those targets already. Over 18 years, the provincial government spent $1 billion on the SuperNet program and 80 per cent of Albertans have access to high speed internet.
“We’re working towards that 90 per cent and we spent $1 billion to do it long before the federal government even recognized this was an issue, yet we’ve never gotten recognition from them for what we spent and no matching funds for that,” he said.
Minister Glubish is touring Alberta having roundtables with local representatives from government and the business community. Last week, he stopped in Leduc for a discussion he said was “very helpful” to learn about the local history and gaps needed to be addressed.
“Every one of them has a different experience, every one of them has different challenges and every one of them is on a different stage in their journey in terms of working towards solutions. So it’s important for us as a provincial government to understand where they are at so we can build a province-wide strategy that reflects the local priorities and challenges,” Glubish said.
Leduc – Beaumont MLA Brad Rutherford attended the roundtable and highlighted the need to improve deteriorating infrastructure in the riding.
“The feedback is that we’re recognizing that there is an issue in rural communities with their internet services. But even within Nisku, these areas that you might not consider, the infrastructure is aging,” MLA Rutherford said.
Glubish said that he is not necessarily looking to spend provincial dollars on improvements, instead he said that strong provincial leadership can help address these issues. He will continue to consult communities around Alberta for the next few weeks.