How fibre connectivity led to Alberta’s advanced rural economy
Alberta is home to the most advanced fibre optic network in the country.
The SuperNet allows residents, enterprises, government groups and municipalities to continue to innovate and thrive with a “sky is the ceiling” mentality - as far as connectivity is concerned. This is unlike any other province in Canada.
In the early 2000’s, telecommunications providers saw value in investing in urban centers, but Axia and the Government of Alberta (GoA) saw the dire need to eliminate the uneven distribution of connectivity for rural Albertan's, and allow for a thriving rural population.
We had a joint vision for a connected Alberta where we would never forget the fundamental principles of our beginnings, and we have remained true to our mission and values of providing open access and competitive pricing to spur the digital economy and remove the digital divide.
Through working with loyal customers for almost 15 years, we have become laser focused on revolutionizing the fibre model, and delivering on our promise to connect the province.
Today, almost every student in Alberta has experienced the SuperNet for their entire schooling career, and benefited from a more connected Alberta. Through a strategic partnership with Axia, the GoA has delivered on making Alberta the most connected digital economy in Canada.
- In education: advancements centered around: Curriculum Development, Professional Development, Assessment Development, and Distance Learning. As well as Student Engagement, Virtual Learning, Teacher Education, Resource Development, Global Connectivity, Classrooms of the future, and Safety / Security.
- In health: doctors can begin to take advantage of more research, collaboration, and record management, and efficiencies in the future.
- In libraries: the model has transformed from transactional, to a digital hub of connectivity. Libraries now allow access to content, community groups, and work spaces, among many other things.
- In municipalities: the hard-working public servants have ensured their communities have what they need to efficiently and effectively thrive.
Each and every Albertan has benefited from the enhanced digital economy that a connected province has brought us. No community, enterprise, or student, should feel disconnected from opportunity. It’s this sense of connection to the world (at the speed-of-light, mind you) that also leads to an uptick of morale and economic growth.
Between the year 2000 and 2005 there were 2 Internet Service Providers (“ISP’s”) in the province. Fast forward to after the creation of the Axia SuperNet in 2005, and this number began to climb. As of 2010 there were approximately 93 ISP’s contributing to the digital economy in both rural and urban settings. Today, due to consolidation we’re at 63 ISP’s across the province.
This competitive economy has impacted the lives of Albertans – with greater access, fair pricing, and improved lives.
Axia has further invested in communities to bring fibre to rural residents in our FibreTowns.
These are towns like Hanna, Nobleford, Fort McLeod, and others where Axia extends fibre beyond the school, hospital, and library to each residential premise and small business. In these FibreTowns:
- 60% of residents have said their quality of life has improved,
- 77% believe their town is more attractive to new potential residents,
- 79% have a more enjoyable entertainment experience while experiencing $74 a month in savings,
- 53% say they’re retaining and attracting young people to town,
- 72% believe their town is more attractive as a location for businesses, and there is a
- 14% average increase in business licenses after Axia builds.
And we’re not stopping there. We plan on rolling into more FibreTowns over the coming years – because we believe wholeheartedly that Alberta can be the strongest rural digital economy in the world. That is, if we turn our attention to underserved communities and give them the infrastructure and tools they need.Meet Anne, a young child who was born and raised in small town Alberta. She grew to be a successful woman thanks to the innovation and opportunity that connectivity brings: