RMA Issue Backgrounder – Funding for Broadband
This article is the second of a four-part series.
Why is funding required for broadband projects?
Building broadband networks is expensive. While the cost differs depending on the distribution technology chosen, all methods require a significant capital investment. Because rural areas have relatively small populations spread over large areas, there are fewer customers requiring a greater investment to reach than in urban areas. Therefore, the business case for a private internet service provider (ISP) to provide service or investment in rural areas is lower than in urban areas.
What funding programs are available?
There is a long history of public funding to promote broadband development in underserved and unserved regions. It is worth noting that these funding opportunities are designed to incentivize private ISPs to develop broadband in rural and remote areas that they would otherwise be unlikely to provide service to due to the lack of a business case. While municipalities and First Nations are eligible under some programs, the majority of the funding flows through the private sector.
What is the RMA doing regarding advocacy on broadband funding?
The RMA is advocating for rural broadband funding in multiple ways:
Contact RMA Policy Advisor Warren Noga at warren@RMAlberta.com.