Solving Municipal Broadband: Red Deer County & Village of Delburne (Part 1)

Red Deer County aims to become the most connected county in North America by 2024, building a fibre-optic network that delivers high-speed internet to the communities and businesses within it.

The project has already begun yielding tangible benefits. The Village of Delburne finished its project in April 2021, and became one of the smallest communities in Alberta to have one gigabyte internet service.

Both municipalities started their broadband journeys in 2016, when they undertook a study with the Central Alberta Economic Partnership (CAEP) to investigate options to expand and enhance broadband connectivity within the region.

In addition to looking at prospective business models, the study helped Red Deer County identify an opportunity to play a leading role in this project.

Drawing on the County’s strengths in contract and vendor management, the County approached broadband as it would a road – own the infrastructure, contract partners to build and maintain it, and build it for all residents and municipalities to use.

The County divided operations into three (3) distinct layers:

  • The municipality would own the infrastructure
  • A private-sector partner would be contracted to build and operate the infrastructure
  • Retail internet service providers (ISPs) would use the infrastructure to sell services to residents.

Since late 2019, the County has been working with Valo Networks and the Canadian Fibre Optics Group (CFOG) to provide internet services beyond the Queen Elizabeth Highway 2 corridor.

The second article in this three-part series will explain how the Village of Delburne joined this important regional initiative. Please click here to read part 2 and part 3 of the series. Please contact danb [at] (Dan Blackburn), Senior Director of Growth and Innovation, for more information.