Solving Municipal Broadband: Red Deer County & Village of Delburne (Part 3)

With more than 180 kilometres of fiber-optic cable already installed, Red Deer County’s future looks increasingly connected and bright.

The County’s vision of ‘connecting as many communities within the region as possible’ is quickly becoming a reality as current projects are completed and new ones get underway.

Looking forward, this network will enable and support smart city projects, 5G mobility, agricultural technologies (agri-tech) and many other initiatives.

Both Red Deer County and the Village of Delburne have learned a lot over the past six years, including:

  • Funding is important, but it alone does not solve the problem – sufficiently operating a fibre-optic network requires a balance of technical planning and population density (i.e., there needs to be adequate demand relative to the cost of operations).
  • Regional approaches to broadband can create options – especially for municipalities with lower population densities, they could opt to install less-expensive wireless towers connected to the fibre-optic network instead of undertaking a more costly project to run fibre-optic cable to their area.
  • Broadband is helping to stretch building capacity – in addition to enabling hybrid and flexible working arrangements, these municipalities have found they can increase their staff without needing to invest and build new facilities.

Red Deer County continues to invest in its broadband network, but it is also looking to form partnerships to improve the offering’s economies of scale.

With EQUS Connect, a regional electrical distribution service provider, the County could possibly divest itself of the administration and operational responsibilities of the network will also reducing potential financial and legal risks.

Red Deer County’s economy continues to grow at record rates, and its ongoing broadband initiative will surely help it continue to thrive.

For more information on municipal broadband in Alberta, please contact DanB [at] abmunis.ca (Dan Blackburn), Senior Director of Growth and Innovation.