Provincial government launches Alberta Broadband Fund

The Government of Alberta recently announced a new program for broadband projects that may not have qualified for the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF). This program is called the Alberta Broadband Fund (ABF) and it resolves many of the concerns that Alberta Municipalities raised with the broadband funding that was announced in early 2022.

The $36 million ABF is comprised of funds from the previously announced $390 million for broadband projects in Alberta. There are two intakes – Service Availability Challenges and Community/Internet Service Provider Applications.

The first intake, Service Availability Challenges, is open to municipalities that can prove they do not receive the level of service that disqualified them from UBF eligibility. You may remember from previous broadband articles in The Weekly that the eligibility maps for the UBF frequently show communities already receiving adequate high speed internet service when this is not actually the service available.  Applications for this intake are open until March 20, 2023.

The second intake, Community/Internet Service Provider Applications, is meant to support those communities that are the hardest to reach. Some projects under this intake will allow for households to receive funding for satellite internet solutions. Service Alberta’s website indicates that more information will be available when the intake opens, which is supposed to be sometime in 2023.

The ABF program should address many of the issues that members identified when the funding was originally announced. We depend on our members to help shape our advocacy, and this new program shows the impact we can have when we speak with one voice.

For more information on this program and how to apply, please visit the Government of Alberta’s ABF web page.