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January 17, 2012

Alberta Government Brings High-Speed Internet to Rural Areas

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From the Edmonton Journal; Written by Sarah O’Donnell.

Pockets of rural Alberta still unable to connect to high speed Internet will have a chance to tap into a $5-million fund from the Alberta Government.

The program is part of an effort to help provide service to the 72,000 rural households and businesses the province estimates are still limited to dial-up.

Those households are scattered across the province, said Bob Barss, president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.

"There’s a huge economic loss to rural Alberta to try to compete to world markets when you don’t have Internet access," said Barss, who also is reeve of the Municipal District of Wainwright in east-central Alberta.

The organization issued its own report on the state of rural connectivity on Monday. Called Connecting the Dots, it offers a snapshot of rural broadband coverage across Alberta as of early 2011. Service in rural areas varies from no service in the Municipal District of Ranch-land to greater than 90-per-cent coverage in municipal districts such as Grande Prairie and Parkland County.

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