Albertans upset with Internet service

Wildrose Service Alberta critic Rod Fox is calling for immediate changes to the way the province delivers high-speed Internet service

  • Apr. 24, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Wildrose Service Alberta critic Rod Fox is calling for immediate changes to the way the province delivers high-speed Internet service to rural Alberta communities.

Service Alberta has teamed up with Xplornet, a satellite Internet provider, subsidizing them to the tune of $900,000 to bring high-speed satellite Internet to rural Alberta. In Question Period recently, Fox urged Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar to ensure a level playing field for all service providers.

While Wildrose supports initiatives to bring high-speed Internet to rural communities that will boost local economies and increase productivity, this corporate handshake has created an unequal and unfair marketplace for all other Alberta service providers and limited choice for rural Alberta Internet customers.

“People in rural Alberta want market choice,” Fox said. “If the cost of doing business in rural communities is too high for providers, the government should look at an across the board subsidizing plan. Instead, they’ve decided to throw one giant wad of cash at a single corporate friend.”

Fox says rural residents are notifying him of issues they’re experiencing with sudden price increases and fee redundancies.

“It amounts to corporate welfare,” Fox said. “The government picks winners and losers in the Alberta markets. We’ve seen them subsidize companies like Shell, PepsiCo, and Telus — now it’s Xplornet.