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January 17, 2013

More Albertans to Get Access to High-Speed Internet

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Up to 4,600 additional households in rural central Alberta will now have access to high-speed Internet. A new government initiative will help eligible residents in rural and remote areas connect to high-speed Internet thanks to satellite technology and waived installation distance costs.

The initiative supports the Alberta government’s plan to provide high-speed Internet access to at least 98 per cent of Albertans.

“Affordable and reliable Internet access is essential for promoting rural economic development and maintaining our competitive advantage, and this government is delivering it,” said Premier Alison Redford. “We are bridging the digital gap between urban and rural Alberta by ensuring Albertans have access to high-speed Internet regardless of where they live in the province.”

The Government of Alberta is partnering with Xplornet Communications Inc. to provide high-speed Internet satellite service to rural and remote households that fall within the service footprint and are currently without access. Eligible households will have the standard installation distance charge of approximately $150 waived creating an equal opportunity for access to high-speed satellite service in the coverage area. Residents will pay monthly service fees.

This initiative is the second phase of the Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative, the Alberta government’s strategy announced in January 2012 to close Internet service gaps in rural and remote areas.

“The Internet brings a world of knowledge and opportunities right into our homes, and the Alberta government is committed to ensuring as many households as possible have access to it,” said Manmeet S. Bhullar, Minister of Service Alberta. “We are leveling the playing field for Albertans in remote, low density areas who may have no other options for high-speed service and we are very close to achieving the target set by Premier Redford and ensuring that 98 per cent of Albertans have access to high-speed Internet.”

Until now, many rural and remote households in central Alberta have had limited or no options for high-speed Internet service.

“The Association of Municipal Districts and Counties offer congratulations to Service Alberta and the Government of Alberta for this new broadband initiative that will help connect Alberta’s remote residents,” said Bob Barss, association president. “The use of satellite technology will provide rural Albertans the same economic advantages as many of their urban counterparts. We encourage Service Alberta to continue work on this important broadband issue and look forward to high-speed Internet being accessible to all Albertans.”

“We are pleased to partner with the Government of Alberta to help ensure that even the most remotely-situated rural Albertans can experience the transformative benefits of high-speed Internet at prices similar to what Albertans in other areas might enjoy,” said Allison Lenehan, CEO of Xplornet Communications Inc. “The government should be congratulated for its ongoing commitment to ensuring that all Albertans have access to fast, affordable Internet.”

Cost of the five-year initiative is up to $900,000. The government will continue to look at innovative solutions to provide high-speed internet access for other currently unserved households across the province.

Central Alberta homeowners can visit or call 1-888-777-4010 toll-free to check their eligibility for the new high-speed Internet satellite service program.

The original news release is available here.

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