Rural Albertans are getting access to gigabit Internet service as Axia follows up on a commitment made last year.

The company has started rolling out a free upgrade across fibre optic networked towns, including Stirling, Vulcan, Hanna, Nobleford, Fort Macleod, and many more. In 2016, Axia said it would invest $100 million in building fibre to the premise in towns throughout Alberta, which will see Axia customers with 50 and 100 Mbps service being cranked up to a level of service that most Canadians in major cities don’t have.

Customers in “Axia FibreTowns” can expect their upgrade as the roll-out moves through each community this fall, the company said, and current 25 Mbps customers will be invited to take the leap to 500 Mbps or 1 Gbps without any additional cost.

According to Axia, this is the first time in any jurisdiction that residential Gbps services are available in rural markets with 100 percent private capital investment, and will give residents access to unshared, unrestricted, Internet to speed up access to cloud services and entertainment, as well as support economic development for communities looking connect to markets around the world.

Late last year the federal government announced it was investing $500 million towards greater access to high-speed Internet in 300 rural and remote communities by 2021 as part of its “Connect to Innovate” initiative. A portion of the funding was slated to go toward building new high-capacity backbone networks, as well as upgrading existing backbone networks and providing last mile connections.