Internet, data and technology can unlock possibilities for education, employment and many other aspects of society. It can also create connectivity and reduce isolation for those who live apart from their loved ones. ATB partners with innovative organizations that aim to increase the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the province.
The challenges we need help solving:
- How might we ensure that ALL Albertans have access to a reliable broadband connection?
- How might we enable all Albertans to have equitable access to essential technology in order to: improve connectivity, increase access to education and employment, and reduce isolation?
Recent initiatives and partnerships
Getting laptops to students in need
When the pandemic hit and schools in Alberta went virtual, it was a challenge for many families and revealed a gap in access to technology for students across the province. ATB approached United Way of the Alberta Capital Region with the need to get technology to more students. With a donation from ATB of $100,000, United Way regions across the province identified the highest needs in their communities, and facilitated the purchase and distribution of 412 Chromebook laptops that went to students at 23 schools across Alberta.
Mage Networks Partnership
In many rural communities, access to high speed internet is sporadic. This is a challenge that affects employment, education and other aspects of daily life. ATB is partnering with Mage Networks to bring reliable high speed internet to rural and remote communities, beginning in Foremost, AB. The partnership has helped Mage build infrastructure in the village so it can offer service, including six months of free Wi-Fi in the town centre. Mage’s new, affordable technology involves a relay network of “points of presence” that ensures reliable signals regardless of weather and terrain.
Water Valley Public Library: Keeping the town of Water Valley moving
As an isolated town with hilly terrain, Water Valley had hit-and-miss Internet access. The situation became critical when COVID-19 forced working and learning from home. The local library quickly became the hotspot for reliable Internet access, but it was only able to open two days a week. ATB donated to Water Valley’s fundraiser to keep the library open five days a week so residents could stay connected.
Silvera for Seniors: reducing isolation during the pandemic
With important Active Aging activities on hold, and with visitors and outings no longer allowed due to COVID-19, the Silvera seniors were disconnected from favourite pastimes, loved ones, friends and even their health care providers.
ATB’s Urgent Needs Committee was formed to address pandemic-induced needs just like this one. The committee heard about the seniors experiencing these hardships, and Silvera offered a creative, technological solution we could help bring to life. By combining our donation with donations from other local businesses, Silvera was able to purchase tablets for the residents.
Thanks to ATB’s donation, Silvera’s residents are now able to connect with their support networks easily and often. They have also been able to have some fun on YouTube and participate once again in their therapeutic group activities (albeit virtually).