Calgary, Alberta – The seventh in a series of town hall meetings set up to introduce communities to the university-based research team studying the Alberta SuperNet will be held in Athabasca on Wednesday, November 26, 2003, at 7:00 pm at Athabasca University, Governing Council Chambers, 1 University Drive. In all, ten such meetings are being held in selected communities between October and December.
The meetings are being conducted by the Alberta SuperNet Research Alliance – a 14-member team set-up to study the social and economic impacts on communities of the Alberta SuperNet. The Alberta SuperNet is a Government of Alberta initiative to build a high-capacity communications network linking 4,700 government offices, schools, health-care facilities and libraries in 422 Alberta communities. The project is designed to allow telecommunications companies and internet service providers to “piggyback” onto the network and offer high-speed services to areas that until now have been too expensive or difficult to reach.
“We’re looking forward to getting the meetings under way as this is marks the first concerted research effort in the communities themselves that will be impacted by the SuperNet,” said lead investigator, Dr. David Mitchell, of the University of Calgary. “We’ll be explaining what we plan to do over the next two years but, based on the positive and enthusiastic response we’ve already had from these communities, we hope to learn a great deal ourselves from these encounters.”
The town hall meetings will introduce researchers and administrative members of the Alliance to the community and give local citizens a chance to ask questions and get more information about the research and the SuperNet itself.
The 14 researchers making up the Alliance are leading experts in their fields and represent the universities of Calgary, Alberta, Athabasca and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Overall, the Alliance is conducting research in eight sub-project areas, including assessing the potential of the SuperNet to enhance services to communities in the areas of telehealth, distance education, disaster and emergency response, library use and business competitiveness.
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) – one of three federally supported research bodies in Canada – the Alberta SuperNet Research Alliance in one of 15 projects selected last year to undertake research in areas related to SSHRC’s Initiative on the New Economy (INE). Other INE projects include research into education and lifelong learning, business competitiveness and governance.
The Alliance is holding town hall meetings in Athabasca, Canmore, Drumheller, Grande Cache, Morinville, Oyen, Pincher Creek, Rocky Mountain House, and Vulcan.
For more information, please visit our website at supernet.ucalgary.ca, or contact Christine Shellska, Project Manager, at (403) 256-1574.