The Alberta government's promise to extend high-speed broadband to 98% of the province is an exciting initiative that aligns perfectly with Cybera's strategy to connect Albertans to each other and to the cloud and computing technologies they need to innovate, said Cybera President and CEO Robin Winsor in response to Premier Alison Redford's announcement on Friday.
'Governments around the world are beginning to consider the Internet as essential public infrastructure. Alberta needs to follow suit if it wants its residents to participate in, and most importantly succeed in, the global digital economy,' said Winsor. 'This complements Cybera's own strategy to connect, enable, grow and harvest Alberta's network and cloud computing resources to support a vibrant, diversified economy.'
Redford has called on two newly appointed cabinet ministers to devise a solution to the province's current digital divide. Manmeet Bhullar and Evan Berger, who share responsibility for the Alberta SuperNet under the Service Alberta and Agriculture and Rural Development portfolios, have been directed to identify coverage gaps and how to best deliver high-speed service to underserved areas.
Cybera's four-part strategy to connect, enable, grow and harvest Alberta's technological resources recognizes the importance of strengthening Alberta's network infrastructure and harnessing 'the power of the group'. Cybera launched a new Peering Service earlier this year to provide Cybera members with a more direct connection to the Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX), which is a gateway to hundreds of major Internet sites such as Google, Microsoft, YouTube and more.
To date, The Banff Centre, Athabasca University, the University of Lethbridge, the University of Alberta and K-12 School District 51 have connected to the SIX via these peering services. Some of these connections, like that of Athabasca University, were made possible through local peering with the Alberta SuperNet. In addition to improving the speed and quality of these institutions' Internet connections, the SIX connection helped divert up to 65% of network traffic from their commercial Internet service, resulting in a substantial cost-savings.
The next steps in Cybera's four-part strategy are to pilot new tools in distributed educational services and to explore the development of a rural community cloud.
'Building and leveraging interconnected, open-access infrastructure is what will drive Alberta's economic growth and diversification in all corners of the province,' said Winsor. 'Rural residents shouldn't have to forgo quality of life for an opportunity to participate in the broader digital economy. Cybera looks forward to working with the Alberta government and Alberta SuperNet to close these connectivity gaps.'