County looking for broadband internet access

By Jessie Weisner
June 28, 2019 - 4:10pm Updated: June 28, 2019 - 7:14pm

 

CYPRESS COUNTY, AB -- On Thursday, the federal government announced they're looking to rework some programs to make it easier for rural communities to access broadband internet.

Something that could be beneficial for Cypress County, which struggles with access to the web.

The two reports released by the Trudeau government received backlash though, with some saying they didn't have firm benchmarks to help rural areas.

Such as areas like Cypress County, which largely doesn't have access to fibre optic or high-speed internet.

According to Jeffrey Dowling, director of municipal services with Cypress County, the lack of access hinders farmers, families and even growth.

“What they need internet for, you look at farmers and ranchers who might need to gain access to the internet for live auctions to buy livestock and equipment, to be able to sell and promote their livestock and crops and hay and that sort of thing,” he says. “From an economic development point of view, it’s important because it helps attract and retain residents, businesses, it’s an essential service basically, we’ve come to rely and depend on it so.”

Cypress County council identified trying to enhance broadband services in their strategic plan a few years ago, and are still focusing on finding ways to improve.

“The county is working with some local internet service providers to see what we can do in terms of helping assist them and maybe getting out to the more rural areas, we’ve had discussions with those providers for a few years now,” says Dowling.

Dowling adds the county isn’t currently utilizing any government grants or programs to implement broadband.
 

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