New Light Rail Transit Line Opens Up Connectivity to Edmonton Educators

resizedimage350262-Edmonton-LRTA much-needed high-speed network connection to Edmonton’s downtown core is now up and running, thanks to a long-running collaborative effort among the city’s post-secondary institutions, municipal government and networking partners. The fibre optic connection to CyberaNet — Alberta’s high-speed research and education network — will support connections to NAIT and MacEwan University that are thousands of times faster than conventional internet speeds. This will enable new teaching and researching opportunities at the institutions.

The fibre optic connection has also been readied for future public buildings in the downtown area to join, including the Edmonton Public Library and other educational institutions.

“This collaboration further demonstrates the City of Edmonton’s reputation of being an innovative city and will help us to achieve our goals of becoming an Open City,” says Mayor Don Iveson. "We are excited about the economic potential that the fibre connectivity offers, including opportunities to build on Edmonton's new technology and education areas.”

The network connection was created to alleviate a growing issue among small and mid-sized public institutions in Edmonton’s core: finding access to low-cost, high-bandwidth internet to share research and to collaborate in a meaningful way. The solution involved the City of Edmonton working with educational and public-sector partners to leverage the building of the new Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in order to access and install fibre optic cables.

Edmonton LRT 2

Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator, is managing the new network connections. Funding for this initiative was provided by CANARIE — which supports the evolution of Canada’s National Research and Education Network — and the Alberta Association in Higher Education for Information Technology (AAHEIT).

“Having this connection in place is essential for our staff and students as they collaborate on data-intensive projects, including those that involve digital media platforms and applications,” says Dr. Glenn Feltham, President and CEO of NAIT. “As technology progresses, educators must work harder to meet the needs and expectations of students who are looking to compete in a digitally progressive world. This includes providing efficient, high-speed connectivity.”

“This improved internet access will help us further develop research capacity and sustain new platforms for teaching and learning in Edmonton,” adds John McGrath, Chief Information Officer, MacEwan University. “By leveraging this link, we will achieve faster, more direct connections to other researchers and educators in Alberta and across the globe, which will lead to more collaborative opportunities.”

As well as having access to the fastest, biggest research network in Canada, the connection to CyberaNet will give NAIT and MacEwan access to Cybera’s Peering Service, which will help them achieve significant internet savings. In addition, efforts are currently underway to connect CyberaNet to the newly established Edmonton Internet Exchange (YEGIX), leveraging the new networking infrastructure. Linking to the Internet Exchange will help keep Cybera’s member traffic local, thereby improving network efficiencies and throughput.

Looking ahead, Cybera hopes to further grow the capacity of its connections to Edmonton’s core. This fibre optic connection could also enable the placement of more public WiFi hotspots in the area.



The Alberta Association in Higher Education for Information Technology (AAHEIT) is a not-for-profit association whose members include all 26 publicly-funded colleges, universities and technical institutes in Alberta. AAHEIT was formed to provide leadership in technology solutions, to share knowledge and best practices, and to enable efficiencies and strategic benefits through system-wide projects and provincial licensing agreements.


CANARIE designs and delivers digital infrastructure, and drives its adoption for Canada’s research, education and innovation communities. CANARIE keeps Canada at the forefront of digital research and innovation, fundamental to a vibrant digital economy.

CANARIE evolves the national ultra-high-speed backbone network that enables data-intensive, leading-edge research and big science across Canada and around the world. One million researchers, scientists and students at almost 2,000 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories have access to the CANARIE Network.

CANARIE also leads the development of research software tools that enable researchers to more quickly and easily access research data, tools, and peers. In support of Canada’s ICT sector, CANARIE offers cloud computing resources to startups to accelerate product development, and links a powerful network of public and private sector partners in a Centre of Excellence for Next Generation Networks (CENGN).

Twelve provincial and territorial network partners, together with CANARIE, collectively form Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN). This powerful digital infrastructure connects Canadians to national and global data, tools, colleagues, and classrooms that fuel the engine of innovation in today’s digital economy.

Established in 1993, CANARIE is a non-profit corporation, with major investment in its programs and activities provided by the Government of Canada.

About Cybera

Cybera is a not-for-profit technology-neutral organization responsible for driving Alberta’s economic growth through the use of digital technology. Its core role is to oversee the development and operations of Alberta’s cyberinfrastructure — the advanced system of networks and computers that keeps government, educational institutions, not-for-profits, business incubators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of technological change.

About MacEwan University

Founded in 1971, MacEwan University inspires its students with a powerful combination of academic excellence and personal learning experiences. Offering more than 65 programs including undergraduate degrees, applied degrees, diplomas, certificates, continuing education and corporate training, the university provides a transformative education in a creative, collaborative and supportive learning environment where creativity and innovation thrive.

About NAIT

NAIT is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta’s prosperity.