ICF New Connected Countyside: Intelligence from the Ground Up. Rural internet providers parkland county



Parkland County, Alberta, Canada is a county-sized municipality that, through its SMART PARKLAND initiative, follows a framework established by the Intelligent Community Forum to meet the needs of a rural region.


Parkland County, Alberta, Canada is a county-sized municipality that, through its SMART PARKLAND initiative, follows a framework established by the Intelligent Community Forum to meet the needs of a rural region. Located on the western border of Edmonton, capital of Alberta Province, and only hours from the province s vast oil sands extraction industry, Parkland County is prosperous. Its primary industries include power generation, forestry, coal, oil and gas, advanced manufacturing, transportation, logistics and agriculture. One of its three business parks is the largest in North America. Most of this economic activity is concentrated in the east, within Edmonton s economic zone. The small cities, towns, villages and hamlets to the west, for all of their natural beauty, lack employment opportunities and see a steady exodus of youth. One factor in the west s isolation is lack of access to broadband, which has the potential to level the economic playing field. In 2012, Parkland County completed the core of a network of 18 communication towers, ten in the west and eight in the east. Capitalized by grants, the towers have power and terrestrial connectivity and are open to operators of first-responder networks, mobile and wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs), who need only rent space on a tower and install a radio to be in business. Parkland County has rugged terrain and is heavily forested, so plans call for construction of an in-fill network of smaller towers to extend service to even more of the population. The business model projects breakeven on operating costs within four years, with the more popular towers in the east helping to subsidize the less popular ones in the west, and take-up by WISPs, systems integrators and government agencies is strong. Hear how Parkland County implemented this program from Barb Scully, Intelligent Communities Coordinator at Parkland County. Following the presentation, Barb will participate in a question and answer session with the audience.