Today we are finalizing the $780 million acquisition of 13 data center sites from Bell Canada, and I’m both excited and humbled by this opportunity. We are not only gaining a fantastic set of assets and people from the number one player in the Canadian market, but we are also forging a powerful partnership to enable us to accelerate Canadian enterprises’ digital transformation.
For me personally, this is also somewhat of a “homecoming,” as I originally started with Equinix six years ago with the launch of the Toronto International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) TR2 data center, followed by an assignment leading sales teams in Europe for the last few years. The Eppichs are happy to be back closer to family and friends, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this expansion that strengthens interconnection within Canada and between Canada and the rest of the world.
IDC - Worldwide Colocation and Interconnection Services 2019 - 2020 Vendor Assessment
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With the Bell Canada acquisition, we are gaining approximately 400,000 square feet of colocation space and over 600 customers. This includes 13 data center sites, representing 25 Bell Canada data center facilities[i] in eight markets. These new Equinix IBX data centers will provide a gateway for Canadian businesses looking to expand their reach globally via Platform Equinix®, with its more than 210 IBX data centers in 55+ metros around the world. They will also provide digital entry points for multinational companies extending their business into Canada.
Together, Equinix and Bell Canada will provide our customers with a joint offering that combines Bell Canada’s telecommunications services and expertise with Equinix’s global platform of interconnected, vendor-neutral data centers and business ecosystems, including leading networks and cloud service providers (CSPs). Together we’ll deliver integrated networking and hybrid multicloud services that will enable Canadian enterprises to bring together and interconnect the foundational digital infrastructure that powers their success. As a result of this partnership, Equinix is already seeing significant customer demand across numerous vertical industries, including financial services, government, tech, regional enterprises and global corporations that want to expand into Canada.
Canada is accelerating its digital transformation
Canada is a top-tier global economy with long-term economic cooperation and trade agreements with the U.S. and Europe, providing a strong basis for digital growth. Of the top ten economies, Canada has the second-highest percentage of GDP from trade, along with France.[ii] Canadian companies are at a pivotal point in their digital transformation, and according to Jason Bremner, IDC research vice president, Industry and Business Solutions, “… the growth in 3rd Platform technologies to support digital transformation are increasingly incorporated into outsourcing and managed service engagements.”[iii] This is a strong indicator that Canadian enterprises are ramping up their digital transformation. And there is an upside for CSPs with Canadian businesses. IDC reports that Canadian organizations expect to increase their spending on public and private cloud data center services to 12% and 25% of their budget, respectively, this year.[iv] As a vast country with geographically dispersed densities of people and enterprises, it will obviously take longer for CSPs to deploy in multiple metros, so we believe there is pent-up demand for these hybrid multicloud services that Equinix and its partners can offer.
These digital transformation indicators are consistent with our Canadian business experience. Since the launch of TR2, our partners and customers in Canada and across the globe have continually asked, “Where are the other on-ramps to Platform Equinix within Canada?” Now we’ll be able to answer this very important call for more geo-diverse Equinix IBX locations within Canada that enable business to interconnect physically and virtually to rich ecosystems of more than 1,800 networks, 2,900 cloud and IT service providers and nearly 10,000 companies around the world.
How policy is shaping Canada’s digitization journey
Like other countries, Canadian policymakers and enterprises are increasingly turning to digital innovation to adapt to the challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, with an increase in remote work, digital learning, online shopping and more, investment in collaboration technologies and cloud-based applications and services is also on the rise. Dense ecosystems of companies that provide these digital solutions on Platform Equinix are readily accessible via direct and secure, high-speed, low-latency connections.
At the same time, data protection and sovereignty are of paramount concern for Canadian policymakers, businesses and citizens. While there are several data privacy regulations, two federal mandates, the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), protect how the federal government and businesses handle personal information, respectively. More recently the Government of Canada launched a Digital Charter and outlined several amendments to PIPEDA that would more closely align Canada with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. This is important as Canada is one of only 12 countries to have an adequacy decision by the European Union (EU) which allows for free data exchanges between the EU and Canada.[i]
The more than 210 global IBX data centers that are part of Platform Equinix provide the localized data residency that is required to comply with these and other data privacy and protection standards around the world. Dedicated, private interconnection to company and customer data among our customers also can provide greater security against cyberattacks. And, expanded interconnection points within Canada will enable Canadian enterprises to distribute security to the digital edge to scale at speed, while maintaining strong data control and protection.
My vision is simple: bring the best of Equinix to Canada and bring the best of Canada to the world. We plan to do this by:
- Learning where our new Equinix customers are at in their digital transformation journey—and understanding how we can help them.
- Leveraging Bell Canada and a variety of global partnerships we share to multiply our value
- Bringing a rich set of direct and secure interconnection solutions to Canadian enterprise
- Providing access to a global platform where Canadian enterprises can increase their digital advantage globally
Equinix is a place where opportunity connects—where our core values ensure for every employee that “I’m safe. I belong. I matter.” Bringing the best version of ourselves to work every day ensures that we can bring the greatest value to our teams and customers.
Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of leading teams across Canada. My experience traveling and leading IT teams in other countries has given me a broad appreciation for two key things: first, there is truly so much to learn from walking a mile in others’ shoes, and second, the opportunities and problems we face are much more similar than we first may think.
Canada is a country of people coming from different places who bring fantastic perspectives and ideas to share; collectively, the country has a similar outlook to Equinix core values of “find a better way” and “we before me.” Equinix values these complementary strengths to address the needs in the Canadian market. Together with our partners, we can bring the best of Equinix to Canada and bring the best of Canada to the world. I’m excited for the journey to begin, happy to be home and can’t wait to get started together!
To learn more about why Equinix is a leader in colocation and interconnection services, read the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Colocation and Interconnection Services 2019–2020 Vendor Assessment.
You may also be interested in reading IDC’s take on the acquisition: Equinix Expands Canadian Presence by Acquiring 13 Bell Datacenters (subscription required).
[i] Note: Equinix counts a building (including a building that has had multiple phased expansions over time) as a single “data center.” Bell counts each expansion within a building as a separate data center.
[iii] IDC, “Canadian Infrastructure Outsourcing Services Forecast, 2020–2024,” Jason Bremner, May 2020, Doc# CA45058420
[iv] IDC, “Buyers Guide 2019: Canadian Data Center Services,” Jason Bremner, September 2019, Doc# CA43803919.