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Xplornet to buy NetSet

(Xplornet screengrab via YouTube)

A rural broadband provider serving over 500 Manitoba municipalities and communities is set to be absorbed into one of Canada’s biggest rural operators.

Xplornet Communications announced Monday it has signed a deal to buy the internet access business of Brandon-based NetSet Communications.

Financial terms of the deal for the privately-held Manitoba company weren’t disclosed, except for a description of the deal as “the largest in Xplornet’s history” and an expected closing date of Oct. 31.

Xplornet said it expects to complement NetSet’s existing services by further expanding the company’s wireless internet footprint and adding new products such as satellite internet, home phone and mobile wireless service in 2018.

Xplornet said it will also maintain the NetSet trade name and retain “virtually all” of NetSet’s employees and business operations in Brandon and Winnipeg.

NetSet founder Charlie Clark will continue in an “advisory role” and will continue to own the company’s real estate, Xplornet said, and will work with NetSet partners Tami-Rae Rourke and Donovan McIvor to oversee growth of NetSet’s telecommunications tower network.

NetSet’s network is designed and set up around the current WiMAX platform and is fully upgradable to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) internet, the company said.

The federal government last year pledged up to $9.9 million for NetSet to provide high-speed Internet services targeting almost 10,000 homes in the Dauphin–Swan River–Marquette area. That project was expected to be completed by the end of this year, delivering internet speeds of at least five Mbps (megabits per second).

NetSet, which launched in 2001, bills itself as “the ideal solution for government, commercial, agriculture-based businesses and residential users.”

Woodstock, N.B.-based Xplornet, which in January signed a $28.75 million deal to buy Saskatchewan rural high-speed wireless provider YourLink, said the NetSet deal “accelerates the company’s continued expansion across Western Canada.” — Network


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