Pool of West Coast ISPs shrinks as Toronto firm scoops up Urbanfibre

Beanfield's acquisition of Urbanfibre will deliver expanded fibre optic network in Metro Vancouver, says new parent company

Urbanfibre CEO Jon Paul Janze (pictured) says Beanfield acquisition will boost competition and network resiliency | Chung Chow, BIV

The pool of independent internet service providers based in B.C. just got smaller.

But Beanfield Technologies Inc. says its acquisition of Burnaby’s Urban Communications Inc. (Urbanfibre) will deliver an expansion of the latter’s current fibre optic network in Metro Vancouver.

The Urbanfibre network currently covers more than 200 kilometres across the region, with customers including the City of Vancouver and the City of Coquitlam. In addition to businesses and organizations, it also services multi-storey residences such as condos.

Beanfield, meanwhile, operates in its home city of Toronto as well as Montreal.

The new parent company said in a July 28 release Urbanfibre would continue to operate under its current branding and customers would not see any changes to their plans or pricing “for the time being.”

“By joining forces, we’ll be able to build on our rich histories and expand our offerings. This will ensure true competition and network resiliency,” Urbanfibre CEO Jon Paul Janze said in a statement.

Internet service in Metro Vancouver is dominated by Telus Corp. (TSX:T) and Shaw Communications Inc. (NYSE:SJR), the latter of which is in the process of being acquired by Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX:RCI).

The federal Competition Bureau is challenging the $26-billion acquisition deal, and Shaw and Rogers agreed earlier this week to extend their merger deadline to Dec. 31. amid fraught negotiations, government pushback, a family leadership battle that landed in B.C. Supreme Court and a widespread Rogers outage that crippled internet and mobile coverage earlier this month.

The deal was originally announced in March 2021.

Vancouver still remains home to smaller, independent service providers such as Novus Entertainment Inc., Uniserve Communications Corporation and AEBC internet Corp.

torton@biv.com

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