CenturyLink deepens Canadian data center presence with second Toronto-area facility

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) has responded to the growing demand from its Canadian market customers for colocation and cloud services by announcing that it has opened its second data center in the greater Toronto area.

Known as TR3, the Markham-based data center was built to support up to 5 megawatts of IT load and 100,000 square feet of raised floor space. One of the stand-out features of TR3 is that it received Uptime Institute's Tier III Certification of Constructed Facility and Tier III Certification of Design Documents.

By adding this new facility, CenturyLink, which currently offers services to a number of companies in the consumer and financial market segments, will now operate a total data center footprint of 11 megawatts of IT load and approximately 185,000 square feet of raised floor space.

"Every market in Canada is very good for us and Toronto is probably the strongest," said David Meredith, Senior Vice President and Global General Manager for CenturyLink Technology Solutions, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We've already had pretty strong pre-selling and got some customer wins even before we opened the doors, which is very good."

New and existing customers will be able to get access to all of CenturyLink's cloud services, including its private cloud offering that it is making available out of all 57 of its data centers.

In addition, the new data center offers customers to connect with four network providers, including CenturyLink. However, they would not reveal who the other service providers are.

"From a network diversity perspective, we already got four network providers in there, including CenturyLink," Meredith said. "As with all of our 57 data centers it's all on-net, but we do have network diversity where we have other providers in there and we'll continue to add more providers over time."

Toronto is a prime spot for CenturyLink to expand its data center footprint. New statistics released by the Toronto Financial Services Alliance revealed that the Toronto region is one of the world's top financial centers and technology hubs.

RMS, a catastrophe risk management firm, hosts its infrastructure in several CenturyLink data centers, including Toronto, for example.

While the financial segment is one of its biggest data center customers in Canada, Meredith said they are seeing growth from multinational companies that need access into Toronto.

"We have done a better job lately of selling multinationals," he said. "Toronto is a city where there are multinationals that need to be in Toronto so the fact that we have 2,000 colocation customers we're able to sell multinationals into Toronto and building out our local sales force there to sell to local companies." 

Canada overall is a big international expansion market target for CenturyLink. The service provider currently operates three data centers in the country, with sites in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In 2013, CenturyLink tapped IT and telecom veteran Ash Mathur as its new regional VP and country manager for its Canadian operations.

Stopping short of naming any specific markets, Meredith said that Canada overall is a key data center expansion target.  

"Canada is a great market for us so it's definitely on our roadmap," he said. "We're not in a position now to announce any other specific launches, but it's definitely an area we're looking at."

More recently, the service provider reported that its hosting segment was a major revenue driver in its second-quarter 2014 results. The segment's operating revenues were $358 million in the quarter, up 3.2 percent from the second quarter of 2013.

For more:
- see the release

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Updated article Aug. 29 with quotes from David Meredith, Senior Vice President and Global General Manager for CenturyLink Technology Solutions. 

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