Sturgeon County to pilot broadband project

The southwest corner of Sturgeon County will be the first to have broadband Internet after the County finalized a contract with Canadian Fiber Optics for the build and operation of fibre-based internet service. Coverage areas will include the Hamlets of Villeneuve, Calahoo, and Riviere Que Barre, the Villeneuve Airport, and the Heritage and ProNorth Industrial Parks.

In a media release posted on the County website, the County says an “extensive selection process” resulted in their choosing Calgary-based Canadian Fiber Optics to develop and operate a fibre-based internet service, that will start with the pilot project in the south-west corner of the county.

“High-speed internet is a need-to-have versus a nice-to-have for our residents and businesses, which is why we approved the broadband strategy and are investing up to $7.3 million for the pilot project area,” said Mayor Alanna Hnatiw in the release. “Sturgeon County is very excited to be working with Canadian Fiber Optics to help fulfill Council’s vision for a connected community. Their experience with rural connectivity solutions and appreciation of the challenges faced by rural communities made them a clear front-runner for the Sturgeon County broadband project.”

Internet connectivity is a significant issue for rural municipalities. The County sees its shared risk/reward model where both the County and Canadian Fiber Optics contribute financially to the development and operation of the service and share the revenue as being a unique model.

Service activation is expected in the summer of 2022. Sturgeon County says it will be working over the next few months to identify additional Internet Service Providers to co-locate on the County’s fibre network for service delivery to area residents and businesses.

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