Internet tower sites to be constructed through the province’s Final Mile Rural Community Program will provide Lacombe County residents with greater high-speed Internet access.
The program, undertaken jointly by Service Alberta and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, will assist in the construction of four towers throughout the county, and help with other development costs, such as those incurred by the purchase of necessary electronic equipment.
Lacombe County has been provided $500,000 through the program, which has doled out more than $6.5 million to rural locations since 2012 in a bid to enhance high-speed Internet access across the province.
“This grant funding will allow us to move forward with our plan of partnering with Internet service providers to improve Internet services in underserved areas of our county,” said Lacombe County reeve Paula Law in a government statement last Friday. “In doing so, (it will) help Lacombe County businesses access the information services they need to succeed, and improve the quality of life for our residents.”
Verlyn Olson, provincial Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, noted he heard “very clearly” during recent Rural Economic Development Action Plan community consultations that high-speed Internet was vital for rural businesses and their communities.
“Through the Final Mile program, we are helping more Albertans access the wealth of information and opportunities that are available online,” he said in the government statement.
The province’s Rural Economic Development Action Plan outlines strategies and actions aimed at supporting sustained rural growth throughout the province. Its five main themes focus on business development, financial access, entrepreneurial development, rural business infrastructure and regional collaboration.
Up to 75 per cent of municipalities’ expenses related to Internet infrastructure are covered by the Final Mile program, which started out as part of a Final Mile Rural Connectivity Initiative to expand coverage of high-speed Internet to 98 per cent throughout the province.
The Lacombe County project was one of 27 approved for funding through the program.