Canada’s fourth largest cableco by subscribers Cogeco Cable has agreed to buy Toronto Hydro Telecom (THT), a subsidiary of utilities company Toronto Hydro, for CAD200 million (USD194.3 million). TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database says that THT has operated a public Wi-Fi mesh network in central Toronto since September 2006, covering around six square kilometres, but a plan to extend the zone citywide has been put on hold due to disappointing user numbers. THT also owns a 450km fibre-optic cable network enabling it to offer leased capacity and a range of corporate services such as data transmission, broadband internet, Ethernet access, VoIP, dark fibre and data storage. Triple-play provider Cogeco, which operates over a cable TV network passing a million homes in Ontario and around half a million in Quebec, said the acquisition would complement its existing business telecoms activities in Ontario and allow for future growth in the corporate field. Significant investment is needed to make the Toronto Wi-Fi system competitive, and Toronto Hydro was legally prevented from diverting capital from its electricity business to invest in telecoms. Toronto Hydro will use CAD75 million from the sell-off of THT to pay the City of Toronto a special dividend earmarked for public housing.
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