Axxel Telecom, one of Brazil’s newest Internet Service Providers (ISPs), is looking to go beyond offering fiber to the home (FTTH) and related telecom products to residential and business customers .

The Curitiba-based company, which leases the fiber structure of the neutral V.tal network to commercialize FTTH, wants to enter the country’s booming solar market, expand nationally and ultimately secure investment from a national or international fund, commercial director Felipe Scandelari (photo) told BNamericas.

“The idea is initially to rely on this neutral network that V.tal makes available to us, but we look at all types of business. We have other businesses and are willing to do business in different areas,” he said.

One such area is solar. Axxel Telecom has two partners behind its operation, one being TVCi, the other Interenge, the holding company behind WNI Technology Group.

Also based in Curitiba, WNI offers video surveillance solutions, radio and fiber optic connectivity and smart energy through photovoltaic systems and street lighting.

Within its WNI Connect Company line, WNI offers the rental of large capacity radio links for the redundancy of fiber optic links, the connection of urban monitoring points through radio and fiber optic networks, data center interconnection solutions, among others.

In the field of energy, WNI designs, installs, monitors, operates, maintains and supports photovoltaic energy production systems for individuals and businesses.

According to Scandelari, the idea is for Axxel to take advantage of the synergy with WNI to offer solar energy to its customers. The project covers a second stage of Axxel’s operations, in 2023.

“Photovoltaic panels are an idea, but we are considering solar energy by subscription. In many cases, the space available to a store, for example, is too small to install photovoltaic panels. We have the possibility to build the plant,” he said.

“The only thing is that it requires a large start-up capital, but with a guaranteed return. We therefore assess whether it is worth entering with a [solar energy] cooperative or entry with our own factory.

There are other potential synergies.

WNI’s panels are exclusively supplied by Santa Catarina-based partner Renovigi, acquired in February this year by Brazilian electronics company Intelbras. Intelbras, in turn, is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of equipment for, among other things, smart homes – precisely the set of products that Scandelari plans to include in broadband bundles.

“We are in the maturing phase [for these bundles]. But the idea is to offer routers, cameras, alarms, virtual assistants and other products for a more connected home,” he said, without specifying which supplier.

Axxel is also negotiating with content providers, including streaming services, that have already struck a deal to include HBO Max in their plans, he said.

The ISP’s goal is to reach 10,000 FTTH customers by the end of this year and 100,000 by the end of 2023, Scandelari said.

The rental agreement with V.tal and the addition of products and content in bundles to customers, as well as personnel and marketing costs, are all funded by the company’s partners.

According to Scandelari, the expenses will involve at least 50 million reais ($10 million) until the end of 2023, which was more than enough to cover current and projected operational needs.

Additionally, by leasing fiber infrastructure, Axxel reduces deployment costs and can focus its investments and operations on solutions, marketing and customer service, he said.

Using V.tal’s network, Axxel plans to expand its FTTH service to the 80 largest municipalities in the southern Brazilian states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul in the coming years.

Initially, operations will be concentrated in Curitiba, the capital of Paraná, and in the metropolitan area, as well as in six other municipalities in the state, where V.tal now has 1.5 million homes connected to fiber. .

In the long term, Scandelari sees Axxel expanding to other states and even other regions, becoming a more national player.

Under the closed contract model with the neutral network, Axxel pays V.tal a portion of what it receives monthly from FTTH customers. Moreover, the contract is not exclusive, which benefits both parties.

If on the one hand other ISPs want to lease V.tal’s network to market FTTH in the same areas where Axxel operates, Axxel can use other neutral networks to expand its footprint, although this is not the plan.

Since its launch, Axxel’s customer base has grown by 25%, according to the executive. Scandelari did not disclose the actual base, but said growth has been consistent and according to plan.

Asked about the ongoing consolidation of ISPs and the growing involvement of investment funds in inducing this process, Scandelari admitted that merging or receiving investment for a merger is the plan.

“We are quite open to this. The offers are very interesting, it is a natural thing. But for the moment, we see our farm as a little pig that has yet to be fattened.”