V26 N1 (80pp).indd - Atlantic Business Magazine

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V26 N1 (80pp).indd - Atlantic Business Magazine
SPECIAL REPORT
New Brunswick
New
Brunswick
enterprise
isn’t what it
used to be;
it might even
be better
Forget the foreboding
over budgetary deficits
and long-term debt.
Forget the endless
debates over shale gas
and resource extraction.
Some entrepreneurs
in New Brunswick are
actually looking forward
to the future, even
embracing it with open
arms, mind and hearts
By Alec Bruce
atlanticbusinessmagazine.com | Atlantic Business Magazine
67
A company that could cement
New Brunswick’s status as a
telecommunications hub and
draw major data-driven Internet
companies like Google and
Amazon to the province began
with a joke to an old friend.
Or, as serial entrepreneur Hunter
Newby tells his tale, when his
business pal, Uri Litvinenko, a
Kiev-based telecom entrepreneur,
was looking to start a new life in
Canada and thought he could goose
his chances of success by acquiring
a Canadian enterprise, the former
quipped: “You mean besides a bar
across the street from Maple Leafs
Gardens? That’s what I would do, I
would own a bar and would watch
every Leafs game.”
Why anyone would offer such
dubious advice (given the Leafs’
straight shot to sporting perdition,
lo these many decades) is anyone’s
guess. But hope springs eternal in
Newby’s heart, and always has.
Now, he and Litvinenko are coowners of Fibre Centre, a Monctonbased company which will provide,
according to the fi rm’s website,
“an important and strategic access
point to the numerous fi bre-based
submarine and terrestrial carrier
networks that pass through the
province of New Brunswick.”
The two telecom veterans are in
the middle of a $2-million closing
on a facility, and have been busy
collecting letters of intent and
meeting with local officials to explain
the importance of the project. Not
that any of this should surprise
anyone.
One online biography of Newby
declares that he is a 15-year veteran
of the telecom networking industry.
Certainly, as the founder and CEO
of Allied Fiber, he commands broad
and deep knowledge of the industry.
Before Fibre, he was the chief
strategy officer and a director of the
recently celebrated its fifth year of successful operation as
Canada’s only LNG receiving and regasification terminal.
CANADA’S
FIRST LNG
TERMINAL
A partnership between Repsol (75%) and Irving Oil (25%),
Canaport LNG is the developer, owner and operator of the terminal.
Becoming operational in 2009, LNG arrives by ship to Saint John in specially designed
LNG tankers and is offloaded by being pumped through pipes into LNG storage
tanks at the Canaport LNG terminal. The LNG is then restored in a highly
controlled process to its original gaseous form through a process called
regasification.
Canaport LNG is proud to bring safe, clean energy to our Saint John
community and beyond.
68
Canaport LNG - AtlanticBusiness ad - 7.125w x 4.875h v2.indd 1
Atlantic Business Magazine | January/February 2015
19-Nov-14 4:21:34 PM
The Hub City
still works!
Moncton’s central location makes it a hub. Its road, rail and air links
make it a transportation hub. Add in a skilled bilingual workforce, low
costs as noted by KPMG and it’s easy to see why Moncton for business
just makes sense.
Moncton also has two strategically located industrial parks with plenty
of room to grow – Moncton Industrial Park West with 90 acres available
and Caledonia Industrial Estates, adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway,
with 250 acres available.
Moncton Industrial Park West and Caledonia Industrial Estates,
where the Hub City really works.
John Chamberlaine, President
Action Car and Truck Accessories
Moncton Industrial
Development
“
“
Moncton has been very good to us.
From here, we have grown to a
company with 31 locations from
Newfoundland to Winnipeg.
655 Main Street, Moncton NB E1C 1E8
506 857-0700 • [email protected]
www.moncton4business.com
The independent,
not-for-profit
New Brunswick
Innovation
Foundation,
an investment
pool for private
sector go-getters,
reports that since
its inception in
2003, it has helped
create more than
50 companies and
fund 350 applied
research projects.
Telx Group, Inc., one of the major
carrier hotel interconnection facilities
in the United States.
What’s more, the brag assures,
“Newby has been involved with
various industry councils and
associations including the Pacific
Telecommunications Council (vice
chairman of PTC Advisory Council),
VON (advisory board member)
and the International Engineering
Consortium.” He has also written
monthly columns and has been
featured in numerous industry
publications.
All of which may only say that
Mr. Newby isn’t from around these
parts, a fact which may point to a
welcome and growing trend for a
province that has too often lionized
its past, lamented its present and
ignored its future. Happily, he’s
not the only defiant entrepreneur,
foreign or domestic, who imagines
a sparkling tomorrow for a
province that otherwise endures a
$300-500-million annual deficit and
a $12-billion long-term debt.
There is, for example, Cirrus9,
a leader in data centres and cloud
computing solutions, established in
2010. In its brief life, this Saint John
company has become a regional
leader in helping companies with
their data storage needs. What’s
more, it’s poised to play a vital role
as more and more companies look
to the cloud to spare them the cost
of running and maintaining their
own data storage servers. The firm
maintains two storage facilities in
the Saint John area, one of which has
been described as “Canada’s version
of Fort Knox.”
Cirrus9 has also had a banner
year. After merging with Halifaxbased Cloud A computing, It followed
up recently with news that they’ll
broaden their customer base.
Fredericton’s municipally owned
fibre optic network GoFred will be
gaining access to the f6 network’s
high capacity long haul fibre optic
cables, offering residents access to
gigabits of data and Cirrus9’s cloud
computing services.
Then, there’s the decidedly lowtech, but equally innovative, Go-Go
Gymnastics, also of Saint John.
There, the young founder and owner
Kara Hachey Angus has, according
to one account, grown her business
I’ve worked out west – now
I’d like to come home and
apply my experience. Is there
a job for me back home?
The Atlantica Centre for Energy supports the responsible development of natural gas in our region. For fact-based
information to help you develop an informed opinion, visit our website at atlanticaenergy.org/natural gas
from a basement enterprise in
2004 to a going concern employing
“upwards of 70 full-time and parttime employees” by focussing on
literacy, leadership and physical
activity for southwestern New
Brunswick’s youngsters.
All of which points to a growing,
if still nascent, culture of techand service-based ingenuity. The
independent, not-for-profit New
Brunswick Innovation Foundation,
an investment pool for private sector
go-getters, reports that since its
inception in 2003, it has helped
create more than 50 companies and
fund 350 applied research projects.
Indeed, says its 2013-14 annual
report, in that year, the Foundation
“increased its annual investments in
start-up companies and research by
60 per cent, our biggest year to date.
As a result, our clients were able to
raise $43 million more from other
capital advisors … double what it
was last year.”
For Newby, bad jokes about sports
and under-performing hockey teams
notwithstanding, the future is just
beginning in New Brunswick, just as
it did elsewhere in his far-ranging
orbit.
As he explains, Allied Fiber,
the company he created in 2008
just as the “Great Recession”
preyed all over the developed
world, provides customers with
neutral connection sites to “dark
fi bre” telecommunications cables
throughout the United States. Dark
fi bre refers to unused optical cable.
In the dot com economic bubble
of the late 1990s and early 2000s,
many telephone companies invested
in large, global fi bre-optic networks
under the assumption that the size
of data would keep increasing. As
technology radically improved fi breoptic capacity, however, the cost of
data decreased, and many companies
that invested hundreds-of-millions
into submarine cables, went
bankrupt. This later presented a huge
opportunity for other companies to
tap into these dormant networks.
Allied Fiber was one of them,
and Newby has built a network of
commercial success in the United
States connecting to intercontinental
submarine cables. Allied also helps
design prefabricated “carrier-neutral”
sites where customers can pay
for access to the network. These
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atlanticbusinessmagazine.com | Atlantic Business Magazine
71
Newby found that in telecommunications
terms, all roads lead to the Hub City.
Moncton was also a junction point where
another underground fibre optic cable...
connected down into Maine through to
Boston.
COME ON OVER!
We’re Open to
Small Business
In Riverview, we’re open to small business. With over 300
home-based and small businesses within our boundaries,
they form the backbone of our local economy. We believe
in the power of small business in a big way!
tow n o f r i v e rv i e w. c a
Department of Economic Development
Contact us: Tel: (506) 387-2022 | [email protected]
72
Atlantic Business Magazine | January/February 2015
colocation centres are referred to as
“carrier hotels,” in which links to
the network are, in effect, “rooms”
rented out to tenants, including
telecom companies and others who
wish to gain access to powerful
network speeds and data capacities.
Back to Moncton.”You gotta pick
the right location,” Newby says.
So, to help his friend Litvinenko
start a business, Newby did what
all location specialists do: he
looked at a map. Not just any map,
however. Though Newby knew
that data centres already existed
in Toronto and Vancouver, he
told Litvinenko he knew of one
company in particular which ran a
submarine, high capacity network
cable between Europe and Atlantic
Canada: Hibernia Networks.
Newby discovered that the cable
in question, initially laid down
in 2000 by the now-bankrupt
company 360networks and later
purchased by Hibernia, connected
London and Dublin with Nova
Scotia at a point near Halifax at
Herring Cove. From there, he traced
the cable’s route in search of a more
inland point to set up a carrierneutral access point.
“The first dot after Halifax was a
place called Truro,” he says. “And
then the next dot was Moncton. And
I said, well I wouldn’t pick Halifax
because it’s right on the water, and
I wouldn’t pick Truro because that’s
also in Nova Scotia. I would pick
this place called Moncton.”
Soon after, Newby found
to his astonishment that, in
telecommunications terms, all roads
lead to the Hub City. Moncton was
also a junction point where another
underground fibre optic cable
owned by f6 Networks connected
down into Maine through to Boston.
“That was pretty amazing,”
Newby says. “And that’s how I
found it, on that map. And within
30 minutes I had sent an email to
some friends of mine at Hibernia
to find out everything there was
to know about that end point. I
wanted pictures, location, street
address, capabilities, everything.”
Thus began Fibre Centre. Newby
is hopeful he can secure the site
within the year with some financial
assurances. “I hope we can close on
this property,” he says. “It’s a good
property. We’re still looking through
that. The challenges are education,
awareness.”
The potential for economic
development in Moncton and New
Brunswick, with access to the faster,
higher-capacity network that Fibre
Centre could provide, is clear. Yet
while there are already several
true believers among the Moncton
business community, Newby goes
further. He warns that improving
network infrastructure isn’t just
about creating jobs, but ensuring
existing jobs don’t move elsewhere.
“People are always so laserfocused on how many jobs you are
going to create,” he explains. “Listen,
if you don’t build this infrastructure,
you will not be able to attract or
retain the businesses that you have.
They will leave, they will go away.
They will go to a place where this
infrastructure exists.”
Newby also spells out what
Fibre Centre could mean for New
Brunswickers in more basic terms.
“Do you have a mobile phone? Do you
want it to work? Yes. Do you want it
to work faster? Yes. Do you want it to
cost less? Yes. That’s what I mean.
Everybody wants the same thing.
Businesses want networks, high
speed and lower cost. Individuals
want networks, high speed and
lower cost. That’s what this does.
A facility like this is a nexus and it
allows for all the other networks to
come and congregate there.”
His experience with Allied Fiber
also gives him an edge in designing
network access points like Fibre
Centre, which require the right
building, air conditioning, special
power supplies, and strong security.
He emphasizes that he designs the
sites to the specifications of his
tenants.
Newby also notes that sites like
Fibre Centre are often situated
within major economic centres. He
mentions 151 Front Street West in
Toronto, a colocation centre which
bills itself as “Canada’s premier
telecommunications hub and carrier
hotel.”
Should Moncton become one of
these … well, that’s no joke. •
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(With research and files from Richard Whittall)
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