The Alberta Rural Connectivity Coalition
In October 2020, a group of Albertans with an interest in rural broadband advocacy met to discuss the challenges and opportunities for rural communities struggling to access high-speed internet.
Those discussions were informed by a commitment to promote rural, remote, First Nations, and Metis communities broadband access in Alberta, and a consensus that not enough has been done at the government level to address this divide.
The Alberta Rural Connectivity Coalition (ARCC) was formed at that meeting to bring a unified voice to the internet access concerns of Albertans.
The coalition is facilitated by Cybera (Alberta's not-for-profit technology accelerator), as well as Michael McNally and Dr. Rob McMahon from the University of Alberta.
Access to a high-speed internet connection at affordable rates is a basic right for all Albertans. All levels of government must take immediate steps to ensure that those Albertans without access to a high-speed internet connection, including those in rural, remote, First Nations communities and Metis Settlements, are connected to a modern internet connection at an affordable rate.
Gregory Taylor is an associate professor in the University of Calgary’s Department of Communication, Media, and Film. He is the author of Shut Off: the Canadian Digital Television Transition and co-editor of Frequencies: International Spectrum Policy, published with McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Dr. Taylor’s primary research focus is the politics and economics of media industries with an emphasis upon Canadian telecommunications. Shut Off: the Canadian Digital Television Transition was shortlisted for the 2014 Donner Prize for outstanding book on Canadian policy. Dr. Taylor has held two major SSHRC Insight grants, including Canadian Spectrum Policy Research (2014-2018 with Dr. Catherine Middleton) and is currently the principal investor of a SSHRC-funded project on 5G wireless and rural deployment.
Erin Ruttan is a Project Manager with the City of Calgary Smart City team focusing on building a Digital Equity Strategy. Erin’s background in social programming, public engagement, and gender equity helps her to better understand the intersectionality of the digital divide. Erin joined ARCC because she understands the value that comes from a more interconnected network both in terms of broadband and social political movement.
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