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Rural Internet Access Program

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High-speed internet access is increasingly important in everyday life, whether it’s required for school, business or even entertainment. Strathcona County has recognized that many rural residents within the County have unsatisfactory access to this service.

With its innovative Rural Internet Access Program, the County is enhancing internet access in hard-to-reach areas by adding local internet towers to boost signal reach.

Through this three-year program, the County offers incentives to internet service providers (ISPs) who build smaller internet towers in areas where there are gaps in service. The new towers - owned and maintained by the ISPs - act as a bridge between households and larger infrastructure towers, bringing high-speed internet access to areas that are without. Local ISPs work directly with landowners to install towers in areas designated by the County.

Information on this page

Map of Internet tower locations (2.5 MB)

Rural Internet Access Program brochure (5.1 MB)

Open House events

Drop by one of the upcoming open house events to learn more about the program and what it could mean for your area.

Wednesday, July 27
Where: Ardrossan Recreation Complex
Time: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, August 3
Where: Strathcona Olympiette Centre (Fultonvale)
Time: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Tower locations

(This list will be updated as additional locations are identified.)

Internet tower installed in spring 2016 service the following rural subdivisions and surrounding areas:

  • Colonial / Royal Estates - tower installed and operational
  • Jaymoor / Lueders / McConnell / Richlyn - tower installed and operational
  • Mark IV Estates - tower installed and operational
  • Wildwood Village - tower installed and operational
  • Wye Knott Village - tower installed and operational

Internet tower installs planned for summer 2016 will service the following rural subdivisions and surrounding areas:

  • Antler Meadows - application submitted, pending approval
  • Antler Lake Community Hall
  • Belvedere Heights East
  • Belvedere Heights West
  • Brecken Woods
  • Birch Park Estates - application submitted, pending approval
  • Bristol Estates - application submitted, pending approval
  • Casswallen Crescent Acres - application submitted, pending approval
  • Century Estates - application submitted, pending approval
  • Century Meadows - application submitted, pending approval
  • Donaldson Park
  • Forest Hills Country Estates
  • Galloway Park - application submitted, pending approval
  • Glenwood Park Estates
  • Hyland Hills – application submitted, pending approval
  • Lina Country Estates
  • Los Villas - application submitted, pending approval
  • Meadowbrook Heights
  • North Cooking Lake / Deville Community Hall - application submitted, pending approval
  • Parklane Estates
  • Parkwood Place
  • Paso Valley Estates
  • Patricia Glen - application submitted, pending approval
  • Queensdale Place (North) - application submitted, pending approval
  • Queensdale Place (South) - application submitted, pending approval
  • Roman Estates – application submitted, pending approval
  • Trans Oak Estates - application submitted, pending approval
  • Verden Place - application submitted, pending approval
  • Wellington Estates - application submitted, pending approval
  • Williams Park - application submitted, pending approval
  • Willow Road - application submitted, pending approval
  • Woodland Downs

Planned and approved equipment upgrades, and improvements to existing nearby towers, will enhance service as well as provide service to additional residents in the following areas:

  • Artesian Estates
  • Baronwood
  • Calebo Estates
  • Dowling Estates
  • Parker Ridge
  • Pine Grove Acres
  • Sierra Grande Estates
  • Springhill Park
  • Spruce Bend Acres
  • Tanglewood
  • Voyageur Estates

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Project timeline

2015

  • Program research, plan and design
  • County works with local ISPs, and gathers feedback from residents, to identify areas where internet access is unsatisfactory

2016-2017

  • Open house sessions throughout rural Strathcona County to share information about the program, and gather feedback from residents
  • Installation of internet towers, on a priority basis, throughout rural Strathcona County; approximately 100 towers expected to be installed by end of 2017

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Partnership with Strathcona County Library

The County has partnered with Strathcona County Library to install internet towers at rural community halls where internet access is unsatisfactory. This is made possible through the Library’s Bookmobile sponsor, Shell Canada Ltd. Thanks to this initiative, visitors will be able to enjoy unlimited free internet access at these facilities.

Bookmobile Library patrons will gain access to the Library’s entire suite of digital content and programming (such as eBooks, and downloadable music and movies), and be able to log into their accounts in real-time. 

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Frequently asked questions

Who do I contact for Internet service in my area?

Please contact the Internet service provider (ISP) directly to find out what plans and packages they offer. To determine which ISP is closest to your area, refer to the Internet Tower Location Map (PDF) at the top of this page.

ISP contact info:

MCSNet
www.mcsnet.ca 
1-866-390-3928

Syban
www.syban.net
1-800-679-0345

I'd like to volunteer to host a tower on my property. What do I do?

Please contact Program Coordinator Kathi Day by phone 780-464-8024 or email ruralinternet@strathcona.ca and your information will be provided to the designated Internet service provider (ISP). Note that the contract is only possible between the ISP and the legal landowner.

Why is the County providing financial incentives to Internet service providers?

The County recognizes there are significant up-front costs for Internet service providers (ISPs) to install new towers in order to provide Internet service in hard-to-reach rural areas where population is not as dense as in urban settings. By partnering with ISPs, the County is able to identify those rural areas with unsatisfactory Internet access. Incentives provided to ISPs through the Rural Internet Access Program encourage local service providers to enhance and expand their Internet service in rural areas where it is needed most.

There is a tower near my home but I still can’t get reliable high-speed Internet. What can I do?

Unfortunately, geographical features such as hilly and treed terrain may prevent a wireless signal from reaching your home. If you have confirmed with local Internet service providers (ISPs) that they are unable to provide Internet access to your home, you may want to consider other options such as installing an antenna or a small tower on your property, or going with a cellular data plan or satellite connection.

If a new tower goes up near my home, will I need to change my Internet service provider?

The County aims to limit the number of total new Internet towers needed by encouraging the expansion of existing networks. It is very likely that the Internet service provider (ISP) installing a tower near your home is the same provider that you currently use. There are four ISPs operating in rural Strathcona County, with limited overlap in their service territories. In the case that your current ISP is different, there is no obligation to switch to another provider.

I am reluctant to have a new tower installed in my subdivision or near my home. Will I be able to have a say in this?

The County and Internet service providers (ISPs) are required to follow due process prior to the installation of a new tower. This includes notifying affected residents before proceeding, and addressing any issues and concerns. You can also contact Strathcona County by phone 780-464-8024 or email "ruralinternet@strathcona.ca":mailto:ruralinternet@strathcona.ca

What will the towers look like?

Local Internet towers are significantly smaller in size than the existing infrastructure towers. The towers are unsupported (not anchored by guy-wires). With a height range of 80 to 120 feet, they generally stand just above the tree line. 

See photos of installed towers.

Where will the new towers be located?

The County is working closely with local Internet service providers to address the needs of the highest number of rural residents, as quickly as possible. ISPs work directly with landowners to install new towers in areas designated by the County. Residents will receive a notice in the mail letting them know if there are plans for a new tower in their area or subdivision. Visit the Rural Internet Access Program web page for updates on the status of planned tower locations, or call 780-464-8024.

Further information

Kathi Day
Program Coordinator
Rural Internet Access Program
Information Technology Services

Phone: 780-464-8024
Cell: 587-334-0950
Email: ruralinternet@strathcona.ca

Last updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Page ID: 37757