On February 9, 2021, Sturgeon County Council gave First Reading to Bylaw 1530/21 - Debenture for Broadband Infrastructure, which will allow the County to borrow up to $7.3 million to cover the cost of Phase 1 of the County’s Broadband Strategy.
Sturgeon County is making this infrastructure investment for two key reasons:
- To serve the needs of residents and businesses
First, as technology advances, our businesses and residents are increasingly needing to stream video and large amounts of data for meetings, business operations, sales transactions, learning, telemedicine, precision farming, cloud-based services, and connectivity of numerous mobile devices.
- Encourage economic growth
Access to broadband contributes positively to employment, economic growth and increases in income and it will also send a strong signal to encourage market players to invest in broadband infrastructure given the commercial challenges of lower rural population densities and higher per user costs.
In other words, Sturgeon County’s investment will encourage private sector investment, deployment, and reduce user costs.
Statement from Mayor Hnatiw on the introduction of Bylaw 1530/21 - Debenture for Broadband Infrastructure
Without the County investment, businesses and residents will remain disadvantaged and this is why Council is prepared to advance the strategy and borrow funds to cover the cost for the pilot project.
That the County must even consider committing to this level of funding is concerning when there is so much federal money on the table. But these funds have proved very difficult to access and, in the meantime, the digital divide continues to grow, leaving the County to step in to find solutions like this pilot project.
Although we are prepared to move forward on our own, it is better if all three levels of government – municipal, provincial, and federal – are all working together. Let your Provincial MLA and Federal MP know that an investment in rural broadband is an investment in Alberta’s economic recovery and all parties need to be at the table.
Find out more and keep up to date with this project at sturgeoncounty.ca/internet