Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rural Broadband Funding

Over the past couple of months I have had the opportunity to visit several counties and municipalities in the province. At each of the meetings the subject of a government supported rural broadband funding is discussed.

In the past there has been two funds available for rural broadband capital projects: CSIF & CAMRIF.

There are two new funds that are currently available to assist Alberta's counties/municipalities to build the last mile infrastructure.

Here is a brief description of each of the funds:

1. Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF)
http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/ip-pi/csif-fcis/csif-fcis-eng.html

The Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF) was designed to support large-scale projects of major federal and regional significance in areas that are vital to sustaining economic growth and enhancing the quality of life of Canadians. The CSIF supported broadband infrastructure projects.

A map showing the broadband projects is available at: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/ip-pi/csif-fcis/cartes-maps/band-bande-eng.html

2. Canada-Alberta Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CAMRIF)
http://www.camrif.ca/en/

The federal and provincial governments each contributed $88 million to the Canada-Alberta Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (CAMRIF). Eighty per cent of CAMRIF investments were directed to projects that benefit municipalities with populations of less than 250,000, with the remaining 20 per cent earmarked for Calgary and Edmonton projects.

Eligible projects under the CAMRIF include water and sewage treatment, solid waste management, public transit and energy improvements to municipal buildings. The fund also supports better roads and bridges, cultural, recreational and tourism projects and improved broadband Internet access.

Projects were selected on a competitive basis from applications received from Alberta communities. A list of selected CAMRIF projects is available at: http://www.camrif.ca/en/news-events/

3. Building Canada Fund (BCF)
http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/funprog-progfin/target-viser/bcf-fcc/bcf-fcc-eng.html

The Building Canada Fund (BCF) is the Government of Canada's new flagship infrastructure program. Funding will be allocated for projects in the provinces and territories based on their population and all major projects will be selected through federal-provincial/territorial negotiations.

The total amount of funding available in Alberta will be $840.73 million over seven years, between 2007-08 and 2013-14. Additional information on the federal and Alberta agreement is available at: http://www.buildingcanada-chantierscanada.gc.ca/plandocs/agreements-ententes/ifa-eci-ab-eng.html

The BCF program will operate through two components:

1. The Major Infrastructure Component (MIC) will target larger, strategic projects of national and regional significance such as: Water Infrastructure, Waste water Infrastructure, Public Transit Infrastructure, Core National Highway System Infrastructure and Green Energy Infrastructure.

2. The Communities Component (CC) will focus on projects in communities with populations of less than 100,000. Projects such as: Disaster Mitigation Infrastructure, Solid Waste Management Infrastructure, Brownfield Redevelopment Infrastructure, Cultural Infrastructure, Sports Infrastructure, Connectivity and Broadband Infrastructure, Local Road Infrastructure, Short-line Rail Infrastructure, Short Sea Shipping Infrastructure, Tourism Infrastructure, and Regional and Local Airport Infrastructure.

The following are eligible recipients for the purposes of the Communities Component:

1. A local or regional government, established by or under provincial statute;

2. A provincial entity that provides municipal-type services to communities, as defined by provincial statute;

3. A public sector body that is established by or under provincial statute or by regulation or is wholly owned by Alberta or a municipality which provides municipal sector services in a given area; and,

4. A private sector body, whose application is supported by a municipal or regional government referred to above.

All projects under the Communities Component will be selected jointly by the Parties through a "competitive", application-based process.

4. Community Broadband Infrastructure Pilot Program
http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/csi12085

The Rural Connections: Community Broadband Infrastructure Pilot Program consists of a $9 million initiative to fund targeted rural communities for projects that enable access to reasonable high-speed service. This funding is part of the Government of Alberta Community Adaptation and Transition Initiative to help ecnomically vulnerable rural communities adapt by investing in investing in economic development and diversification initiatives.

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Initial capital funding is required to provide broadband to underserved areas. All counties will require initial government funding to provide broadband services to high-cost areas.

I recommend that counties and muncipalities create partnerships with adjoining counties/muncipalities and local Hamlets/Villages when applying for these funds.

In addition, I predict that the Alberta Government will be creating and providing additional funding options in 2009.

1 comment:

alen mcmilan said...

I very happy to read that broadband capital projects CSIF & CAMRIF had to help you.That is really great help for Rural Broadband.
Office Broadband