The town of Vermilion will be receiving $46,000 dollars from the Alberta Government to fund the Vermilion River Regional Alliance Broadband Research Project. The funding will bring in a researcher to look at building broadband infrastructure, if they should run it as a public utility, and what the cost would be.
Vermilion Mayor Caroline McAuley says broadband is key to future economic development.
“When we are attracting larger multinational companies or larger companies in general one of the very first questions they ask is what is your broadband accessibility. So it’s becoming a key driver to bring businesses to our area.”
The project will explore ways of improving broadband capability in Kitscoty, Marwayne, Manniville, Paradise Valley and Lloydminster as well. McAuley says including these areas creates a sense of economic unity.
“What we’ve discovered actually is that together we are stronger as municipalities. If we jointly work on this project together, we have a stronger likelihood of it being economically feasible for us to bring broadband in our area, rather than being isolated. I think the other important piece to remember is if Vermilion were to do broadband on our own and a company just outside in the county doesn’t have good access to broadband, it doesn’t really make it enticing to bring businesses to our area.”
Vermilion is one of 23 locations in Alberta to receive the grant.