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Digital Futures 2017: Strategy and Opportunity

November 29, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - December 1, 2017 @ 1:30 pm

It is full steam ahead for connectivity projects in Alberta. Broadband Preparedness studies from across the province are laying the ground work for future developments. Similarly the taps have started to flow from the federal government’s Connect to Innovate Program and the CRTC continues work in shaping its broadband funding mechanism. Finally, after the October municipal elections across the province, councils new and returning will be looking for initiatives to tackle over the next four years. Taken together communities across Alberta are on the precipice of a strategic opportunity to align efforts and develop enhanced connectivity across the project.

Given this period of strategic opportunity the Van Horne Institute in conjunction with Growth Alberta, and the University of Alberta’s Masters of Arts in Communications and Technology program and School of Library and Information Studies hosts Digital Futures: Strategy and Opportunity November 30th and December 1st in wonderful Westlock. Digital Futures offers a forum that brings together community leaders, government officials, industry, academics and broadband champions to discuss important issues related to community, regional, rural and remote broadband.

Save the date for Digital Futures 2017: Strategy and Opportunity in Westlock, Alberta!

For more information, please call Bryndis Whitson at 587-430-0292 or email at bwhitson@vanhorneinstitute.com

Hotel Information

Westlock Inn, 10411 100 Street, Westlock, Alberta T7P 2G7

Call the hotel 780-349-4483 and reserve the rate of $89.95 + tax.



Pre-Symposium Agenda


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pre-symposium Mixer

6:00 pm – 9:00    Growth Alberta will be hosting a Pre-event Networking Session at the Westlock Inn from 6 – 9 on November 29.  Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar will provided.


Symposium Agenda


Thursday, November 30, 2017

8:30 am                 Registration and Light Breakfast

9:00 – 9:30           Welcome, Opening Remarks and Introductions

9:30 – 10:00        Policy Updates and Backgrounders

Dr. Michael McNally and Dr. Rob McMahon from the University of Alberta will provide policy updates on Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)’s Connect to Innovate program, the CRTC’s Broadband Funding Mechanism, NAFTA, House of Commons, Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) study on rural broadband, and other topics.

10:00 – 10:30      Networking Break

10:30 – 11:30      Broadband in Alberta – Current Status and Policy Considerations

This session will be led by Craig Dobson from Taylor Warwick, which will provide an overview of regional Broadband Connectivity Studies in Alberta, as well as the current state of broadband services in the province and a number of projects that have been occurring across Alberta.

11:30 – 12:30      Working with a New Council: Introducing Broadband into the Conversation

The 2017 Municipal Elections have concluded and new councils have been sworn in.  This session, led by Bob Miller from the Calgary Regional Partnership, will address tips and tricks for working with your new council about Digital Connectivity in your community and setting the stage for the next four years.

12:30 – 1:20        Lunch

1:20 – 2:30           Strategy and Opportunity Workshop 1: The Big Picture

After a short summary the Government of Alberta’s current strategy, participants will be divided into small groups to more thoroughly investigate and discuss the emerging Provincial Broadband Strategy.

3:00 – 3:15           Break

3:30 – 4:30           Regional Economic Development Alliances (REDAs) Panel

Regional Economic Development Alliances (REDAs) present and discuss some of the broadband / digital connectivity projects currently under way across Alberta

4:30                        Wrap-up Day one and optional tour


Friday, December 1, 2017

9:00 am – 9:15   Opening remarks

9:15 – 10:00        Government and Regulatory Panel

The Government and Regulatory Panel will provide the Digital Futures’ audience with the opportunity to hear the perspectives of key Canadian broadband policymakers.  The panel discussion features Commissioner Linda Vennard from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada’s national communications regulatory, and Stephen Bull, Assistant Deputy Minister – SuperNet Secretariat from the Government of Alberta.  The panelists will be responding to a set of questions from organizers and there will also be the opportunity for questions from the audience.

10:00 – 10:20     Break

10:20 – 12:00     Strategy and Opportunity Workshop 2: Drilling into Specifics

Building on the previous workshop, participants will be divided into small groups to more thoroughly investigate the specifics of the Provincial Broadband Strategy.

12:00 – 1:30      Lunch with Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities

There is limited knowledge about how to improve the usage of broadband technologies in rural Canada. While the emphasis has been upon the economic opportunities of broadband infrastructure, we also know that rural Canadians identify both cost and capacity as barriers to using that infrastructure. This project examines almost 300 projects and studies to better understand not only how rural communities might increase the use of broadband, but also the effects of different strategies on community development and sustainability.

1:30                        Wrap-up, Next Steps and a Save Drive Home!


Hotel Information


Westlock Inn, 10411 100 Street, Westlock, Alberta T7P 2G7

Call the hotel 780-34914483 and reserve the rate of $89.95 + tax.




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November 29, 2017 @ 7:00 pm
December 1, 2017 @ 1:30 pm


Van Horne Institute


Westlock Inn
10411 100 St
Westlock, Alberta T7P 2G7 Canada
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