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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

We will be hosting an open house on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.  Affected residents in the rural subdivision of Trans Oak Estates and the hamlets of Antler Lake and Collingwood Cove have been notified by mail.

Time: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (drop in any time)

Where: Conference Centre 1 in County Hall

2001 Sherwood Drive, Sherwood Park

How to get to the Community Centre/County Hall (706.3 KB)

Parking

The underground Community Centre Parkade offers public parking - first two hours no charge. See more parking options .

Survey

We have developed a short questionnaire to help us plan for the installation of future towers. Residents in areas where a new internet tower is operational will receive letters in the mail inviting them to complete a survey (hard copy or online). Links to the online surveys will also be posted on this page, next to the related tower area.

Note: If you don’t see a survey link next to your tower location, it means the survey for this area has not yet been developed and will be added at a later date, or, the survey for this area has ended. 

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Tower locations

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

Internet towers installed to date service the following rural subdivisions and surrounding areas:

      • Antler Meadows - Syban tower installed and operational
      • Bristol Estates - Syban tower installed and operational
      • Casswallen Crescent Acres - MCSNet tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Century Estates - Syban tower installed and operational
      • Century Meadows - Syban tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Colonial / Royal Estates - MCSNet tower installed and operational - complete the survey by November 30
      • Farrell Properties - Syban tower installed and operational
      • Galloway Park - MCSNet tower installed and operational
      • Hyland Hills – Syban tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Jaymoor / Lueders / McConnell / Richlyn - Syban tower installed and operational - complete the survey by November 30
      • Los Villas – Syban tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Mark IV Estates - Syban tower installed and operational - complete the survey by November 30
      • Meadowbrook Heights - MCSNet tower installed nearby and operational
      • Parklane Estates - MCSNet tower installed nearby and operational
      • Patricia Glen - Syban tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Queensdale Place (North and South) - Syban tower installed and operational
      • Roman Estates – Syban tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Twin Island Park – Syban tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Verden Place - Syban tower installed in nearby subdivision and operational
      • Wellington Estates - MCSNet tower installed and operational in nearby subdivision
      • Wildwood Village - MCSNet tower installed and operational - complete the survey by November 30
      • Willow Road - MCSNet tower installed and operational
      • Wye Knott Village - MCSNet tower installed and operational - complete the survey by November 30

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

      • Antler Lake Community Hall - MCSNet application submitted, pending approval
      • Belvedere Heights East - MCSNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • Belvedere Heights West - MCSNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • Birch Park Estates - MCSNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • Brecken Woods - MCSNet application submitted, pending approval
      • Donaldson Park - MCSNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • Forest Hills Country Estates - MCSNet application submitted, pending approval
      • Glenwood Park Estates - MCSNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • Lina Country Estates - MCSNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • North Cooking Lake / Deville Community Hall - MCSNet tower in construction phase nearby
      • Paso Valley Estates - MSCNet application submitted for nearby subdivision, pending approval
      • Trans Oak Estates - MCSNet application submitted, pending approval
      • Woodland Downs - MCSNet application submitted, pending approval

Equipment upgrades and improvements to existing towers have enhanced internet service, as well as extended service to additional residents, in the following areas:

      • Artesian Estates - MCSNet
      • Baronwood - Syban
      • Calebo Estates - MCSNet
      • Dowling Estates - MCSNet
      • Gunnmanor Estates - MCSNet
      • Marler Subdivision - MCSNet
      • Parker Ridge - MCSNet
      • Parkwood Place - MCSNet
      • Pine Grove Acres - MCSNet
      • Sierra Grande Estates - MCSNet
      • Springhill Park - MCSNet
      • Spruce Bend Acres - MCSNet
      • Tanglewood - Syban
      • Voyageur Estates - MCSNet

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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

      • Information 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; all towers are 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.

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 (ISPs) 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: Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Page ID: 37757