The Hills are alive

Privately-owned Atria Networks, formed by bringingtogether the telecom assets of a number of Ontario utilities, may beexpanding again. The Town of Halton Hills, a bucholic community of56,000 north-west of Toronto (or, if you're familar with the area,immediately west of Brampton), has authorized the municipally-ownedenergy corporation to accept Atria's offer to buy its Halton HillsFibre Optics division for $4.75 million. Atria president and CEO StevenMcCartney, who happened to be in our office Thursday to tape soon-to-bereleased video interview, refused to comment because the deal hasn'tclosed.

If it goes through, it wouldn't be amajor addition to Atria's network but it does add to the capacity forthe always-growing area north of Toronto and Mississauga. Atria alreadyhas fibre in neaby Vaughan and Guelph. The Halton Hills council said ina news release that the deal would bring what it calls a net profit of$1.4 million to the municipality after the outstanding debts owed toHalton Hills Hydro are paid. During a recent restructuring Hydrodecided that due to “stiff and growing competition” it would be betteroff without the telecom business, which includes a division calledHummingbird Wireless that provides highspeed wireless service.

What's the benefit to Atria? Stay tuned.

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