January 9, 2019 (Calgary) – Karen McPherson, the Alberta Party Economic Development and Trade Critic, said today the Notley NDP government needs to quit stalling on introducing its rural high-speed internet plan and release it now, including the cost and timeline for implementation.

“Successive governments have been talking about implementing rural high-speed internet for the past 20 years, and all of them have failed to make it a reality,” said McPherson. “Reliable internet service isn’t a luxury – it’s an economic necessity, no matter where in Alberta you live, and rural Albertans shouldn’t be discriminated against because they don’t choose to live in a big city.”

“Last November in the Legislature, I asked the Minister of Service Alberta why he was still consulting with the Rural Municipalities of Alberta and had not yet released an implementation plan for rural high-speed internet. I got no answers and no timeline on behalf of rural Albertans who desperately need reliable internet – and frankly needed it years ago. The government originally said the plan would be released last fall. Then they said it would be ‘early in the new year.’ Here we are in 2019, and the government still hasn’t released a credible plan for how it’s going to bring rural Albertans into the
20th century.”

“The government talks a good story about economic diversification, yet does very little for rural Alberta. While we look for other ways to get our oil and gas to international markets, rural municipalities are trying to innovate and focus on other economic development, and that takes having all the pieces in place to attract new business. One of the critical elements for attracting new business is high-speed internet. Provincial governments have consulted with rural Alberta about this issue for at least a decade, the conservatives and NDP can’t seem to get the job done, and rural Albertans are fed up with the lack of support.”

“High-speed rural internet is a critical component of growing the industries and prosperity that are Alberta’s future, and the Alberta Party Caucus is committed to doing what it takes to get reliable internet access for all rural Albertans, so they can be equal participants in Alberta’s future prosperity and growth,” concluded McPherson.

The Alberta Party Caucus is committed to Alberta, and to the values of prosperity, fiscal and social responsibility, environmental sustainability, accountable government and strong communities.

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Niall Condon, Director of Communications, Alberta Party Caucus

780-721-3065 | Niall.Condon@assembly.ab.ca  

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