Newmarket sells off community-owned internet service provider

Whitchurch-Stouffville-based telMAX acquires ENVI, town says move will accelerate local fibre connectivity

Newmarket and Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution have sold their internet service provider in a move they say will help progress efforts to bring higher connection speeds to town.

The municipality announced today that telMAX has acquired ENVI, the $5-million startup that the town created in in 2018 to enhance broadband infrastructure and improve local internet service. It was a subsidiary of Newmarket-Tay Power.

Whitchurch-Stouffville-based telMAX will now be taking on the ENVI, in a sale a town new release said “accelerates the vision of bringing ultra-high-speed broadband to the entire community.”

“The pandemic and working from home has reinforced the absolute necessity for high-speed broadband in a future-oriented community,” Newmarket Mayor John Taylor said. “Our goal has always been to ensure affordable high-speed broadband for Newmarket businesses and residents. With the creation of ENVI in 2018, we moved one step closer, and now with this sale, Newmarket will realize that goal with telMAX bringing the fastest internet service in Canada right to your doorstep.”

ENVI has been billed as a community-owned way to bring more fibre connectivity to Newmarket. In a June update to council, it said it had built 30 kilometres in Newmarket to date. But the report indicated 200 connections, with 230 customers contracted so far.

The town said the sale allows for expansion to happen “without further investment from the shareholders.” Without the sale, the town said ENVI would have needed “a very significant long-term investment from its shareholders to continue to expand in a highly competitive environment.”

“Today’s announcement will accelerate our realization of that vision and ensure that the community benefits more quickly than the resources of ENVI could have done on our own,” ENVI board chair Ian Collins said. 

The details of the sale and how much it is worth were not disclosed. 

Purchaser telMAX already offers internet, TV and phone service in Whitby and Stouffville, and will now expand its offerings into Newmarket. It builds fibre and was rated as the fastest ISP by PC magazine in June 2022. 

“We are delighted to be working with the Town of Newmarket to expand the goal of bringing 100 per cent fibre broadband to the community,” telMAX CEO Stuart Roberts said. “We look forward to playing a significant role in the economic and cultural development of the town.”