Spectators and performers alike sang Christmas carols downtown on Saturday afternoon as the birth of Christ was depicted at a pageant. The birth of the Christ child was re-enacted in a pageant on Main Street Provost on Saturday afternoon, December 15.
©Provost News Photos.

Rural Communities Step Closer to High Speed Internet Access

It appears that communities in East Central Alberta along with the rest of the rural areas of the province are a step closer to receiving high speed internet service.

Alberta SuperNet is working on the world's most extensive fiber-optic and wireless network system.

Over the next three years local communities scheduled to receive the new service include:

• Hughenden: Highland View School, Hughenden Community Health Services, Hughenden Public Library and Hughenden Public School.
• Amisk: Amisk Public Library and Amisk School.
• Bodo: Bodo Community Library.
• Cadogan: Cadogan Library.
• Czar: Czar School.
• Chauvin: Dr. Folkins Community School.
• Provost: Agriculture, Food & Rural Development site, Eastpark Educational Opportunities Council, Provincial Building, Provost Health Centre, Provost
•Mental Health Centre, Provost Municipal Library, Provost Public School and St. Thomas Aquinas School and 387653 Alberta Inc.
• Edgerton: Edgerton Public Library and Edgerton Public School; as well as Buffalo Trail Regional Division No. 28 head office.
Glenn Guenther who is director of Communications, for Alberta Innovation and Science told The News on December 17 that governments are working on the “most cost-effective roll out strategy” and could not say exactly when Provost or other communities would be connected. He said more announcements will be made in the new year.
Speaking at the Broadband Canada Conference in Ottawa recently, Victor Doerksen, Minister of Alberta Innovation and Science stressed the Alberta government is taking decisive action with Alberta SuperNet to address the technological infrastructure needs of the 21st century.

"We are closing the digital divide between urban and rural Alberta," Doerksen said. The $295 million dollar SuperNet investment is not only addressing provincial disparities in the provision of a growing number of essential technological services, "it begins to bridge a growing national digital divide," Doerksen added.

“This project will revolutionize Alberta. I am reminded of the Tennessee Valley Authority project that introduced electricity to the Appalachians in the 1930s and how that changed the Eastern (United) States," said Ray Patterson, a newly arrived associate professor at the University of Alberta's School of Business, who moved his family here from Texas because of Alberta SuperNet and the province's growing reputation for innovation.

Alberta SuperNet is rapidly accelerating the development of the province's knowledge economy, which has already been attracting top-minds from other provinces, the United States, and around the world. "(From) the businesses that will come here, the existing businesses that will reinvent themselves (and) the creativity of the private sector given this opportunity, I expect great things. There's no telling what will happen," Patterson continued, "and in Alberta we won't have to guess what could have been. We're going to find out."

One of the first businesses to seize the SuperNet enhanced Alberta Advantage is IBM Canada, which recently named Edmonton as the location for its new world-class, high-tech Centre for E-Business Innovation, scheduled to open in February. ”Alberta SuperNet represents precisely the type of innovation that firms are looking for," said Ed Kilroy, president, IBM Canada Ltd. “Technology has real business impacts and the Alberta government is generating a lot of energy with their technology leadership. There's obviously a commitment here."

In his presentation, Doerksen emphasized the good business sense in SuperNet's 12,000 plus kilometers of end-to-end connectivity. "With SuperNet, Internet Service Providers and network-based businesses will compete for customers. The Alberta government is creating opportunities for businesses," said Doerksen, "and through our innovative SuperNet contract, Alberta is ensuring open competition."

"In Alberta, we are growing our knowledge economy, and creating new possibilities for service delivery," said Doerksen, "and this all contributes to the sustainable prosperity of the province and an even higher quality of life for Albertans. SuperNet sounds futuristic, and it is, but we are moving forward because it will have real benefits. This project will make us a world-leader in the new economy and it is not something Alberta can wait for."

In partnership with Bell Intrigna and Axia NetMedia, the Alberta government will spend the next three years connecting schools, hospitals, libraries and provincial government buildings, permitting 4,700 facilities in 422 communities access to high-speed broadband Internet and network services. Likewise, rural Albertans will be able to purchase high-speed broadband Internet services previously unavailable, and at a price comparable to urban users.

Print version of this story in December 19 Edition of The Provost News.
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Above photo shows the audience which magician, Sheldon Casavant of Sherwood Park,
entertained, while photo left shows 10 year old Megan Slater who had her hands
full trying to pull apart several metal rings after being challenged by the magician .
Casavant entertained for a half hour with magic and fun and then spent another
hour making animal balloons to the delight of youngsters—and their parents.
©Provost News Photos.

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