Indigenous communities leaping the digital divide

Indigenous communities are setting up their own satellite, fibre optics and even cellular phone networks

Indigenous communities leaping the digital divideWhen Bruce Buffalo returned to Maskwacis after years away in the big city, he was appalled to discover parts of his community still had no internet service. Just an hour’s drive from Edmonton, some neighbourhoods in the Indigenous community remained cut off from the rest of the world as recently as 2016, apart from a few…

Virtual clinic pilot sees success in rural Alberta community

U of A spinoff company launches MedROAD virtual clinic in Alberta, making long-distance health care a reality during COVID-19

Virtual clinic pilot sees success in rural Alberta communityA new pilot project called MedROAD is bringing the power of precision health to Pincher Creek, Alta. – and seeing promising results. MedROAD promises to be the future of telehealth, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and cloud-based computing to remotely connect patients with health-care professionals, no matter where they are. Developed at the University of Alberta by computing scientist Pierre…

As Canadians flee cities, rural living gets its mojo back

Pandemic has accelerated the flow of people fleeing cities, especially among young people

It’s no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many Canadians to move from cities to the suburbs and even the countryside. According to Statistics Canada, the phenomenon led to a record loss of population in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in 2020. Vacancy rates are skyrocketing in many urban centres across the country. The same phenomenon…

Satellite breakthroughs will change internet delivery

Exciting times in the satellite industry

Satellite breakthroughs will change internet deliveryElon Musk’s Starlink low Earth orbit (LEO) network has been awarded US$885 million over 10 years to build out rural internet access in the U.S. This was the fourth largest amount awarded under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Testing of preliminary Starlink service recently began. This is a billion-dollar (almost) vote of confidence in…

Eliminating the rural-urban divide, one internet connection at a time

Many Canadians are fleeing cities only to realize how poorly serviced rural regions are in terms of internet access

Eliminating the rural-urban divide, one internet connection at a timeThey say food connects us all. So does the internet these days. Along with the provinces, the federal government says it is now on a path to give 98 per cent of the Canadian population access to high-speed internet by 2026. This is a much more ambitious target than the previous goal of 95 per…

Worse birth outcomes, higher pregnancy risk in poorest rural regions

Alberta researchers identify gradients of risk for preterm births, small and large size at birth, smoking and drug use by mothers

Worse birth outcomes, higher pregnancy risk in poorest rural regionsThe highest concentration of adverse birth outcomes and related maternal risk factors occur in rural areas of Alberta with the lowest socio-economic status, according to new research from the University of Alberta. “When it comes to perinatal health, postal code can be as important as your genetic code,” said perinatal epidemiologist Maria-Beatriz Ospina, assistant professor of obstetrics…

Animal grazing reducing biodiversity around the world

Study of unprecedented scale shows less variety of herbivores and pollinators in grazed areas worldwide

Animal grazing reducing biodiversity around the worldLivestock grazing is reducing the biodiversity of herbivores and pollinators worldwide, according to a new study led by University of Alberta researchers that examined the impact of grazing on a larger scale than ever before. “We looked at the effects of livestock grazing on every continent except Antarctica and what it means for biodiversity,” said Alessandro…

Pandemic drives need to boost rural wireless services

Where COVID-19 outbreaks happen in population-dense urban settings, people want to move. But they need services

Pandemic drives need to boost rural wireless servicesWith the potential for the COVID-19 to accelerate migration from cities to rural areas, it’s time for all levels of government to stop their dithering and accelerate efforts to provide broadband and cellular wireless services to rural and remote populations. The infighting between provincial, federal and municipal authorities has gone on for at least two…

Is dam removal the wave of the future?

Research suggests it makes more ecological and economic sense to dismantle dams than to restore or maintain them

Is dam removal the wave of the future?Urban studies researcher Richard Florida has made a reputation with a lot of interesting ideas, many of which are controversial. One of his ideas is that people like to live near water, and that leads to prosperity in cities located on rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. My perspective on this theory is that settlers to…

Applying barnyard lessons to the pandemic aftermath

For many, the current economic climate is very difficult. There are serious challenges ahead

Applying barnyard lessons to the pandemic aftermathIt had rained all day and as I walked that evening with my wife, I noticed the worms on the road, clambering to escape the torrents of water that were flooding their living spaces. Finding a discarded drink cup, I started collecting them for our garden. Counting them as I went, I was taken back…