SpaceX Starlink Pilot Launches in Alberta, Canada

In a significant step toward achieving province-wide high-speed internet access by 2027, the Alberta government has initiated a pilot program using SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet technology. This initiative targets remote and underserved communities, particularly in areas such as County of Forty Mile, County of Warner No. 5, and Cardston County.

“Advancing satellite internet technology in Alberta is an important milestone and an innovative way to achieve our goal of universal connectivity by 2027. Today, connectivity is everything and Alberta’s government is proud to provide rural Alberta with another option to eliminate the connectivity gap,” said Nate Glubish, Minister of Technology and Innovation, in a statement on Thursday.

The program is designed to offer an alternative to traditional fibre and fixed wireless technologies in regions where land-based internet infrastructure is unfeasible or excessively expensive. Participation is limited to eligible households and businesses in these designated areas.

“We are thrilled for our fellow residents in the southern reaches of the County of Forty Mile to have the chance to experience high-speed internet, opening up new possibilities in their farming and ranching endeavours. This advancement ensures that even in our rural landscape, where connectivity has been a challenge, our agricultural community can harness the benefits of technology for greater efficiency and innovation. This is not just about connectivity, it’s about cultivating a technology-enabled agricultural landscape for generations to come,” said Stacey Barrows, reeve of the County of Forty Mile No. 8.

Eligible Albertans are encouraged to order Starlink equipment and apply for a rebate of up to $1,000 CAD, covering hardware, shipping, and taxes. The rebate program currently makes the Starlink kit effectively free (it’s priced at $499 CAD on sale; refurbished kits are $250 CAD), excluding a monthly internet fee of $140. The rebate application period is open from December 15, 2023, to March 31, 2024.

Currently, Starlink is the sole operational high-speed low-earth-orbit service in Alberta. Starlink is a game changer for remote and rural areas where laying down traditional fibre is not possible.

The Alberta Broadband Strategy is dedicated to improving access to reliable high-speed internet (minimum 50 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload) in remote and rural areas, with a commitment to achieving full connectivity across the province by 2027.