Benefits Of High Speed Internet In Rural Alberta

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It seems that there would be great benefits throughout Alberta if broadband internet were available for every home in the province.

The year-long study was commissioned by SouthGrow Regional Economic Development here in southern Alberta.

Coutts Mayor Jim Willett is the Southgrow Chairman. He says this study shows that these benefits far outweigh the cost of setting up high-speed access. “As they are very conservative with the numbers over a 20-year period, they see an almost 3-to-1 advantage for broadband in communities, rather than not.”

Willett says it’s clear that connected communities make a strong country and that it’s time for the government to bridge the digital divide.

“We hired a researcher for literary research and found that this type of information simply did not exist for Alberta. There was a clear gap in the public conversation, ” Willett says. “We thought if we were doing this research that is vital to our southern communities, it would make sense to include information that benefits the entire province.”

In the first scenario, the researchers calculated the cost of providing a brand new fiber network for each Alberta municipality, with fiber in each home. Over a 20-year period, this scenario predicted a return of 2.97 to 1 in categories such as health, government, education, social savings, consumer savings, business and corporate income, and other considerations.

In Scenario 2, the researchers extended Alberta’s existing SuperNet to all remaining communities with fiber optic at home, projecting a return on investment of 3.23 to 1.

SouthGrow says, in a press release, this study should not be read as a plea for any of the hypothetical projects, but the key to remember is that broadband is a very good investment, and this conclusion applies to everyone from businesses to governments of all levels.

(With SouthGrow Regional Economic Development files)

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