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County calls for improved rural broadband connectivity

Pandemic drives home need for effective, reliable internet service in rural areas

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY — County council is calling on several provincial government ministries to address the need for improved broadband connectivity service in rural communities.

The calls came in provincial ministry one-page summaries prepared on the direction of council and being forwarded to nine ministries after being approved by council motion.

The summary being sent to Advanced Education calls for the ministry to “support Service Alberta in completing an update on the rural broadband plan previously contemplated to be developed and released by the province of Alberta.”

The background note in the summary states, in part, “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further illustrated the need for effective and reliable broadband/internet service in rural areas, as many students in both elementary, secondary and post-secondary require a strong, reliable connectivity to stay up with their studies and to completing mandatory testing online.

“Mountain View County also view consistent and effective rural connectivity – both internet and cellular coverage – as critical to potential economic development within the county, and for educational opportunities and competitiveness.

“With more and more critical services accessible mainly or only available online or through cellular connection, ensuring that removed rural areas and landowners have consistent and reliable coverage has become essential.”

Mountain View County residents in remote or underserved portions of the municipality rely heavily on these services and deserve equal access to those in urban or well serviced areas, the summary states.

The summaries being sent to Agriculture and Forestry, Education, and Jobs, Economy and Innovation, and Service Alberta all make similar calls for improved broadband connectivity service for rural communities.

Support for ag plastic recycling

Meanwhile other topics addressed in the summaries include the agricultural recycling pilot project.

In the summary to Agriculture and Forestry department, the county calls on the department to “continue financial support for the agricultural plastics recycling group and the Alberta Ag-plastic Recycle It! Pilot program to allow full realization of the potential of ag plastic recycling in the province.”

The background note states, in part, that, “agricultural plastics such as grain bags, twine, silage plastic, bale wrap and netting are essential on-farm tools. While end of life management can be challenging for agricultural plastics, limited recycling markets are available for some of these materials.”

A similar call to support ag plastic recycling is made in the summary to Environment and Parks.

The summary to Justice and Solicitor General states, in part, that, “In reflection of more direct municipal financial support for policing, the county urges that the police advisory board membership and scope represent rural Alberta to ensure that new funds that have been paid under the police funding regulation results in additional resources and programs focused on rural Alberta crime issues.”

The complete summaries will be carbon copied to area MLAs Jason Nixon and Nathan Cooper. The summaries are available for viewing on the county’s website.