High-speed internet access is increasingly important in everyday life, whether it’s required for school, home, business or entertainment. Strathcona County recognizes that access to reliable high-speed internet differs for residents and businesses across the County. In some areas, internet services available do not meet current or future needs.
Take the high-speed test
To ensure gaps in internet service all across Strathcona County are recognized, residents and businesses are encouraged to complete an online internet speed test administered by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), a non-profit organization that develops and implements policies that support Canada’s internet community.
For the most accurate results, a desktop or a laptop is the preferable test device and ideally it should be connected directly to your modem using a cable. Do multiple tests at different times of the day and on different days of the week, and be sure to run some during peak times (7pm to 11pm).
Shut down all programs on your device except the test. Running other applications or devices while executing tests will negatively affect test results. Only the person doing the test should be using the internet, so ask others to stop using the internet and/or streaming while running the test (it only takes about a minute!).
The data is anonymously collected and aggregated into a dataset, allowing us to better understand the “real” internet service speeds that our residents are experiencing. Individuals can compare their connection speed with those of other participants.
The County is exploring ways to help improve internet access in the community. In addition to the data collected in the above high-speed test, we recently conducted surveys asking for input to help us better understand the current state of high-speed internet services throughout the community, and identify opportunities to help ensure everyone has access.
Survey results will provide a baseline understanding of the current state of internet services in Strathcona County and inform on what the County’s role could be in providing high-speed internet services to residents and businesses.
Internet survey frequent questions
1. I completed the internet survey but have more comments to share. How can I do so?Permanent link to I completed the internet survey but have more comments to share. How can I do so?
Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey! You can send us any additional comments or feedback on this topic by emailing email@example.com or calling 587-334-0950. We welcome all comments and feedback, and they will be taken into consideration as part of our evaluation process.
2. How will the survey results be used by the County?Permanent link to How will the survey results be used by the County?
Strathcona County is currently reviewing all options available to improve, or make available, high-speed internet access for residents and businesses throughout the County, no matter where they are located.
Input from the internet survey will provide a baseline understanding of what role residents, business operators and building owners think the County should take in the provision of high-speed internet services. Options being considered range from no involvement from the County, to a high level of involvement that could see the County either partner with the private sector, or become a retail internet service provider.
Based on public input, opportunity, risk and cost, Strathcona County will try to find the right balance of guidance and investment to assist internet service providers operating in the County to offer the best internet services for the needs of both rural and urban citizens.
In 2019, Council asked Administration to bring forward a business case presenting options for the County’s role in offering broadband internet services. The report will be informed by:
- Internet Survey results (input from residents and business owners/operators)
- engagement with local internet service providers (ISPs)
- socio-economic benefits report for the capital region (Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board)
The final report, including recommendations on the County’s role in ensuring high-speed internet services for all residents and businesses, will be presented to Council in the fall 2020.
4. Who currently owns, maintains and upgrades internet infrastructure located in Strathcona County?Permanent link to Who currently owns, maintains and upgrades internet infrastructure located in Strathcona County?
Each internet service provider (ISP) currently operating in the County is a private organization and is solely responsible for maintaining and upgrading their infrastructure, and for their service levels. At this time, Strathcona County’s role is for permitting related to internet infrastructure.
Through its Rural Internet Access Program, completed in 2018, Strathcona County offered incentives to local service providers to enhance internet access in rural areas by adding 22 new local internet towers, and upgrading many more, to boost signal reach.
I am concerned about 5G technology.
While we appreciate there are many opinions on the effects of wireless technology, like all other Canadian municipalities, Strathcona County does not have a role in defining the appropriateness of 5G technology or how it may be used. This is regulated by the two governing bodies that oversee wireless devices and associated infrastructure in Canada: Industry Canada (ISED) and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). All service providers who choose to implement 5G technology must comply with the quality and safety standards set by the Government of Canada.