Hydro One Limited (TSX: H), the largest electricity transmission and distribution provider in Ontario, Canada, recently re-branded its Hydro One Telecom subsidiary to Acronym Solutions, as part of an effort to open-up its fiber network and service capabilities to public and private sector businesses in the province. Historically, Hydro One’s fiber network principally provided telecommunications support for its own transmission and distribution businesses, as well as for sales of dark fiber services and connectivity to third-parties.
With its re-branding to Acronym Solutions, Hydro One is seeking to offer “value added” communications and IT solutions including cloud services, managed services, and security-based services, which leverage the company’s fiber-optic network. At the same time, Hydro One’s initiative with Acronym Solutions showcases another example of how utility companies are seeking to monetize their embedded digital infrastructure assets – with other examples being transactions between SBA Communications/PG&E and Crown Castle/NextEra Energy.
Acronym Solutions – Evolving Beyond Hydro One Telecom
Acronym Solutions is a facilities-based carrier providing high-capacity, diverse, resilient, and secure fiber-optic connectivity to organizations with broadband network requirements. Geographically, Acronym’s network covers Southern and Eastern Ontario, Canada, with connections to Montreal (Québec), Buffalo (New York), and Detroit (Michigan).
Acronym Solutions’ fiber network spans 5.4k+ miles (8.7k+ kilometers) across 100+ urban and rural municipalities in the provinces of Ontario and Québec, as well as border markets of the United States. Also, the company’s backbone network interconnects with other local, national, and global third-party carriers.
As shown below, Acronym Solutions’ fiber covers Ontario’s largest cities including Toronto, Ottawa, London, Windsor, and Barrie. Specifically, Acronym Solutions leverages parent company Hydro One’s fiber assets which are located above-ground on transmission towers across the province.
Additionally, Acronym Solutions serves 1.9k customer sites, including 42 on-net data centers, with its network having 81 points-of-presence (PoPs).
Acronym Solutions is broadening its service offerings beyond simply selling dark fiber services and connectivity. To this end, the company is pursuing more of an emphasis on managed services. Below are the four main groupings of Acronym’s offerings:
- Connectivity: internet, ethernet, MPLS, wavelength, dark fiber, tower attachments (antennas, backhaul)
- Cloud Services: secure SD-WAN, Backup as a Service (BaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Operations: Network Operations as a Service (NOS), Field Operations as a Service (FOS)
- Professional Services: network design, optimization, and management
Acronym Solutions serves customers seeking high-availability networking, disaster recovery, and redundancy planning. For example, these customers include data centers, cloud service providers, enterprises, internet service providers (ISPs), other carriers, and public sector entities.
Presently, the company’s target customer segments are wireless carriers, financial institutions, enterprises, public sector organizations, utilities, distributed generators (e.g., wind farms), and school boards.
Hydro One’s Acronym Solutions is led by John Papadakis as President & CEO. Previously, Papadakis has held positions at companies including Rogers, Avaya, Clearnet, and Group Telecom.
Competitors – Fiber Networks in Canada
In Canada, the largest owners of fiber are the country’s wireless carriers including Rogers Communications, Bell Canada (BCE), and Telus. In addition, Vidéotron, Zayo Group (DigitalBridge/EQT), Cogeco Communications, and Beanfield Metroconnect (DigitalBridge) own extensive fiber networks throughout the country.