In the latest version of COS Service Zones, that was released just days ago, our most exciting new feature is the integrated speed test. Perhaps you need to prove to investors or decision makers that the need for better broadband is there or strengthen your grant application with actual speed test results showing that people are not getting sufficient speeds?

All of us working hard to bring fiber broadband to more people can probably agree that the FCC definition of Broadband being at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds, was outdated even when it was launched in 2015. In these days of Covid-19, when so many people around the globe are working and studying from home, there are probably few who would agree that a 25/3 Mbps connection is sufficient for video conferencing, online studies, streaming, etc. All in all – speed matters, which is at the core of our latest release of COS Service Zones. Read more about COS Service Zones 4.1 here!

With this recent release we now offer our COS Service Zones customers to have a dedicated cloud hosted speed test. By testing towards a neutral cloud server, it will resemble what speeds the subscriber will actually see while using their internet connection on a daily basis. Some speed tests will test against your provider’s server which will show an idealized result, which is not the case with this test.

Obviously, the test is allowing the subscribers to see what kind of speeds they are currently getting and commenting their result, but we have of course packaged this data nicely with all the other data we gather with COS Service Zones. By having the speed test results tied to the address, coordinates and the subscriber’s survey response, many interesting questions can be answered. What is the correlation between what they are paying for and what speeds they are actually getting? Are people on different competitive providers showing different speed test results? Are there any high download or upload speeds available out there today? And of course, when running an actual test, how many are reaching speeds of 25/3 Mbps? Reliable speed test data can be crucial when applying for grants or explaining to key stakeholders why it is important to take the decision to invest in better broadband.

We hope and believe that by adding speed test results to the proven demand aggregated neighborhood by neighborhood, our customers can easier secure funding and prove the need for better broadband to decision makers – making more fiber projects move forward faster

Don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a demo of COS Service Zones at sales@cossystems.com

The latest version of COS Service Zones offers a long list of big and small improvements based on all the great feedback we have received from our customers. New user roles, a new super-fast process to convert a survey response to a signup, Google tracking and more.

COS Service Zones is a Demand Aggregation platform used to survey your potential customers to find out if there is enough interest for your services to justify a network investment. It also allows you to sign them up prior to construction using a “Fiberhood” approach. When enough people have signed up in a neighborhood you know that you can start construction with confidence as people are committed to buying services. A big part of this approach is to efficiently market it, preferably with different marketing channels, but for sure using online advertising and social media. We have added support for Google’s Global site tag tracking to support you in measuring the success of your marketing efforts.

We have also added two new user roles; One that only has read-only access to a limited number of areas within the product. This role is perfect for those who are logging in to track project progress, but not to edit any information. The other new user role is a support role, with mainly read-only access, but edit rights on customers and orders. With more available roles we expect more users to get access and have added two-factor authentication at login for extra security.

Years ago, we implemented a google maps integration for the address search functionality after evaluating a few different options. Now we have also transitioned over to their maps in the admin interface, which is a great improvement. Google maps both works and looks good.

What other news are in this release? Well, we’ve done a ton of small improvements based on our customers’ feedback, such as a super-fast way to convert a survey response into a signup, allowing an address search on a separate website to be sent to the COS Service Zones site, and much more.

To see it all, contact us to schedule a demo of COS Service Zones at sales@cossystems.com

Jessica

We are happy to Welcome Jessica Thorfve to COS Systems. Jessica will be working as a Key Account Manager supporting our growing customer base. We’re all extremely excited to have Jessica joining us – you can’t find many people with the experience and expertise within Open Access that she brings.

Jessica last comes from one of Sweden’s largest Service Providers, A3, which is the brand under which the merged Service Providers Alltele and T3 now operates. When Jessica started at T3 in 2011, it was still a relatively small player, with under 20 000 broadband customers. During the coming five years until the acquisition by Alltele, the company had an incredible growth. During this time Jessica, who started her “while figuring out what to do next” job as a customer support rep, quickly advanced to team manager for customer support, to marketing, managing the content on the company’s web, and other related tasks.

In 2016 she became manager for the residential side of the business and in charge of the commercial relationships with the operators of the 100+ open access community networks T3 was delivering services on. After the merger of T3 and Alltele she got an even larger responsibility as manager for the entire community network broadband business unit, now adding up to almost 200 000 subscribers on close to 160 networks.

While our COS Business Engine customers are the owners and operators of the open access networks, some of the most frequent users are often the service providers. They are themselves publishing their services on the Marketplaces, creating and launching promotional campaigns, etc. The expertise Jessica is bringing about the Service Providers’ role in the Open Access business model will be extremely valuable. We are also sure, not only us, but especially our customers who Jessica will be working with on a daily basis will very much appreciate her positive attitude and consistent drive to make things work even better.

Umeå Energi har med en hög utbyggnadstakt kraftigt expanderat sitt stadsnät i Umeåregionen. Med ett allt större fibernät, fler aktiva kunder och ny teknik som introduceras så har Umeå Energi valt att förnya avtalet med COS Systems för deras fortsatta användande av COS Business Engine som operatörsplattform för driften av nätet.

Det kommunalägda energibolaget Umeå Energi var väldigt tidigt ute med fiber och utbyggnaden av stadsnätet Umenet påbörjades redan under 90-talet. På senare år har utbyggnadstakten varit fortsatt hög och även antalet kunder i sedan tidigare utbyggda områden som nu valt att ansluta sig har vuxit kraftigt i takt med att behovet av bredbands­uppkoppling av hög kvalitet blir en allt mer central del av svenskarnas vardag. Äldre tekniker för att leverera Internet blir allt mer utdaterade.

Umenet har sedan 2012 använt mjukvaran COS Business Engine. Systemet omfattar allt från kundportalen där kunderna kan välja tjänster från 15 olika leverantörer, till de administrativa och tekniska funktionerna som automatiserar allt från aktivering av bredbandstjänster och fakturering av leverantörerna.  

“Med den kundtillväxt vi sett de senaste åren och med introduktionen av nya tjänster i nätet och användningsområden för vår fiberinfrastruktur var det läge att omarbeta vårt avtal med COS Systems. Med detta uppdaterade avtal på plats är vi redo för fortsatt framtida tillväxt med stöd av COS och deras effektiva driftsplattform,” säger Mats Berggren, VD på Umeå Energi Umenet.

Bland mycket annat så arbetar Umeå Energi med ett mycket intressant projekt där Sveriges första 5G-nät utvecklas i samarbete med Ericsson, Telia, Umeå Universitet, Umeå Kommun, Umeå Science Park samt andra lokala aktörer. Ett ytterligare innovativt initiativ är Smart Start, vilken är en pilot på Smarta-hem- och IoT-tjänster (Internet of Things), som kan levereras över deras öppna stadsnät.

”Det uppdaterade avtalet med Umeå Energi är viktigt för oss. Vi ser det som bevis för att vårt system inte bara skapar förutsättningar för en snabb kundtillväxt, utan även är en effektiv plattform för framtida expansion. Umeå Energi är en innovativ och framtidsinriktad kund och vårt fortsatta samarbete kommer bidra till att våra produkter utvecklas för att än bättre möta de krav som framtidens tekniska lösningar ställer”, säger Peter Lidström, VD på COS Systems.

Om Umeå Energi

Umeå Energi är ett energibolag och en samhällsaktör som i nära samarbete med omvärlden utvecklar och levererar hållbara energi- och kommunikationslösningar. Vår vision är en enklare vardag för våra kunder och en hållbar framtid för regionen. Vi omsätter ca 1,4 miljarder kronor, har drygt 400 medarbetare och är både miljö- och arbetsmiljöcertifierade.

Om COS Systems

COS Systems är en globalt verksam leverantör av mjukvara för att planera, bygga ut och sköta driften av moderna bredbandsnät. COS Systems utgår från kundbehov och utvecklar innovativa mjukvarulösningar som effektiviserar den dagliga driften, bidrar till ökad försäljning och nöjdare kunder. COS Systems expanderar ständigt och har hittills sina kunder i Europa, Nord- och Sydamerika, Afrika och Asien. Läs mer om COS Systems på www.cossystems.com

För ytterligare information, kontakta:

Mats Berggren
VD, Umea Energi Umenet AB
070 – 518 71 28
Mats.berggren@umeaenergi.se
www.umeaenergi.se

Peter Lidström
VD, COS Systems AB
070 – 656 58 72
Peter.lidstrom@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

The Electric Utility Umea Energi has expanded their fiber network significantly during the last years. With a larger footprint and new technologies emerging they have chosen to renew their contract with COS Systems for their continuous use of COS Business Engine for efficient operations and automated service activations of their Open Access fiber network.  

[Umea, Sweden] Umea Energi is a municipally owned electric utility in the University town of Umea, Sweden. It first started building out the fiber optic network in the 90’s, but has increased the pace in their build-out in the last five years, while the take-rates have also improved greatly as consumers need for reliable high-speed data increases. Older technologies to connect to the internet are becoming obsolete.

The Utility has been using COS Business Engine as their BSS/OSS (Business and Operations Support System) since 2012. The system consists of everything from the online Marketplace where subscribers can choose services from 15 different service providers to the administrative backend system that automates everything from service activation to wholesale billing.

“With the growth we have seen in the last years and the new applications we are now introducing in our network we needed to rework our original agreement with COS. With this updated agreement in place we are ready for the future of our network with the support of COS Systems and their highly efficient operations platform,” says Mats Berggren, CEO of Umea Energi Umenet.

Umeå Energi is currently working on Sweden’s first 5G deployment in cooperation with Ericsson, Telia, Umea University and other municipal entities. They are also doing a pilot project called Smart Start, which is a platform for delivery of smart home services to residents.

“This updated agreement with Umea Energi is important for us at COS. We have proven that our system enables and supports network growth and that it will also be the platform to effectively operate Open Access Networks in the future. Umea Energi is an innovative and forward thinking customer and our ongoing cooperation will be valuable for the continuous development of our products,” says COS Systems CEO Peter Lidstrom.

About Umeå Energi

Umeå Energi is an energy company that in close cooperation with the world around us develops and provides sustainable solutions for energy and communication services. We strive to challenge through new thinking and to drive the sustainable development in the Umeå region. Our vision is to make everyday life simpler for our customers and to secure a sustainable future for the region. Our turnover is approximately SEK 1.4 billion, we have just over 400 employees and hold environmental as well as work environment certifications. umeaenergi.se

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage Open Access networks, using a powerful yet simple self-service interface. COS Systems takes customer needs and delivers innovative software solutions that streamline operations, accelerate revenue and deliver more satisfied subscribers. Learn more about COS Systems on www.cossystems.com.

For additional information contact:

Mats Berggren
CEO
Umea Energi Umenet AB
Mats.berggren@umeaenergi.se
www.umeaenergi.se

Isak Finer
CMO & VP North America
COS Systems
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

COS Systems is ramping up after summer and we are happy to have strengthened the team with two more rock stars.

Boris Ruiz started in our Product Development team in August. He is a Swedish-American born in Florida, moving in between Miami and Puerto Rico. From an early age he developed an interest in software, working on hobby projects in his free time such as apps, games, & websites. Being an adventurous person by nature and not afraid to try and learn new things, he recently decided to move to Sweden to see how life is like here. At COS we were lucky to snatch this amazing developer before any of the other IT companies in our city did. Boris is currently mainly working on improvements to our COS Service Zones product. With our focus on the US market it’s an obvious plus his native tongue is English, but we are worried he will soon forget it based on the speed at which he is picking up Swedish!

Simon Fransson has just done his first week on our QA team. Simon is from outside of Umeå but now has walking distance to our office – we’re all jealous. The last three years Simon spent at A3, which is one of Sweden’s largest service providers, active on more than 150 Open Access networks nationwide. Since most of these networks are operated using our COS Business Engine platform he already knows the ins and outs of it. It’s a great resource to have him on the team with the service provider perspective he brings when testing our products making sure they meet our ambitious quality standards. When Simon is not working or at the gym there’s a great chance he is gaming, something he’s been doing almost before he could walk. You do not want to meet this guy online in Counter Strike!

We’re excited to have them on our team and know they will both contribute greatly to our customers’ success.

COS Systems Strengthens US Presence

After many successful years of growth in the US market COS Systems strengthens their presence further by appointing Isak Finer as Vice President for their North American business.

[Blacksburg, VA] COS Systems began its expansion into the US Market six years ago. Since then, more than one hundred North American clients have signed up to the two software platforms COS Service Zones and COS Business Engine. With increasing demand for their products and the growing interest among US communities to build True Open Access networks COS has decided to appoint Isak Finer, the company’s CMO, as Vice President of North America. Finer is now permanently based in Blacksburg, Virginia.

“Breaking into a new market is a big undertaking, especially a market as large and competitive as the United States. With the recent years’ successes and our strong financial performance, we feel it is time to take the next step and start building a team permanently based in the United States,” says Peter Lidstrom, COS Systems CEO.

With large projects on the horizon the timing is now right to invest in a stronger local presence and an organization dedicated to the United States.

“I am very happy about the move to the States. Being closer to our clients and partners makes it easier for us to deliver our very best. I look forward to continue building on existing relationships and adding more companies to our family of fantastic customers,” says Isak Finer, COS Systems CMO and VP North America.

“It is a milestone in the company’s history to appoint a US based Vice President and a receipt of the increasing success we have seen. We are now positioned to take on more customers and larger projects,” concludes Goran Bergling, Charmain of the Board at COS.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage Open Access networks, using a powerful yet simple self-service interface. COS Systems takes customer needs and delivers innovative software solutions that streamline operations, accelerate revenue and deliver more satisfied subscribers. Learn more about COS Systems at www.cossystems.com.

For additional information contact:

Isak Finér
CMO & VP North America
COS Systems
+1 (540) 988-3224
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

COS Systems AB AAA highest credit worthiness 2019

COS Systems has this year achieved the highest credit rating AAA given by Bisnode. This rating places COS Systems among the top 2.3% of Joint-Stock Companies in Sweden that currently have the AAA rating.

Receiving the AAA rating testifies to COS Systems position globally and indicates that the company is high-performing, trustworthy and reliable to its customers and partners.

“We are extremely proud of this achievement. We are constantly striving to enhance our trust towards our customers and partners globally and are happy to have the AAA rating from Bisnode further acknowledging the stability of our company.” Says Peter Lidstrom, CEO at COS Systems

The AAA rating from Bisnode has been used since 1989 and is today the most well know credit rating system in Sweden. Bisnode derives its information from a number of official and confirmed sources. This information is then analyzed according to 2,400 rules resulting in a value in the rating model. They gather data daily from reliable sources. Read more.

About COS Systems

COS Systems is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage Open Access fiber networks, using a powerful yet simple self-service interface. COS Systems takes customer needs and delivers innovative software solutions that streamline operations, accelerate revenue and deliver more satisfied subscribers. Learn more about COS Systems on www.cossystems.com.

For additional information contact:

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

NoaNet and COS Systems expand partnership by launching an operator version of COS Service Zones. NoaNet has previously provided cities and public utilities with COS Systems’ demand aggregation platform and support in the project execution. Now NoaNet is set to further help rural communities in Washington get connected to fiber by launching their own COS Service Zones system ready to aggregate demand for fiber in any part of the State.

Gig Harbor, WA – NoaNet (Northwest Open Access Network) is a non-profit municipal corporation which operates an extensive open-access fiber back-bone network reaching every corner of Washington State. NoaNet has partnered with COS Systems in the past to provide the demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones to Public Utility and municipal customers. Since then, many communities have reached out to NoaNet asking if they could provide them with a managed demand aggregation solution delivered as a service. NoaNet is now in the process of launching a statewide COSService Zones application that can be leveraged as part of their Community Broadband Solutions program to assist communities in evaluating their need and readiness for municipal broadband deployment.

COS Service Zones is a web-based software platform that allows a community or provider to run a “fiberhood”campaign to learn if there is enough interest in the community to invest in a fiber infrastructure and in which neighborhoods the demand is greatest. Every neighborhood has a “take-rate” target to reach in order to qualify for build-out. The purpose is to involve the community in the process and build a common will to build the new fiber infrastructure. In successful COS ServiceZones campaigns demand grows rapidly as the community engages on the platform, sharing information about the project on social media, and spreading information to their neighbors and friends.

“When NoaNet explained that there were many communities interested in better connectivity but lacking the resources or expertise to run a COS Service Zones campaign themselves, we began thinking how we could best assist NoaNet in helping those communities. We developed the concept of an operator version of COS Service Zones, which allows NoaNet to add smaller communities as separate projects on their singleplatform. Practically, this means each of these communities will have their own section of the NoaNet managed website.” says Bjorn Wannman, Manager Partnerships and Strategic Accounts at COS Systems.

Chris Walker, Telecommunications Director at NoaNet is looking forward to offering this tool to Washington communities on a larger scale then NoaNet was previously able to support. “There are dozens of rural communities in Washington with limited or no access to modern telecom infrastructure. High speed broadband can make a huge impact for job creation, economic growth, high quality healthcare and smart services to increase the quality of life for our rural residents. In many cases, even if community leaders understand the need and want to close the digital inclusion gap, they might lack the resources to do something about it themselves. We’re now prepared to help them understand the options to pursue a telecommunications buildout plan.”

Chris has been with NoaNet through several service expansions and is excited about this new opportunity to help Washington communities help themselves increase their broadband access. He said, “Not only will we help them determine if there is enough demand to move forward and invest in the infrastructure, with our extensive fiber footprint and open access experience we will also be able to offer services in build-out and operations. This package of services will make a huge difference for rural Washington communities”

Claire Ward, Marketing and Communications Manager at NoaNet shares Chris’s excitement for this new opportunity. “NoaNet has been serving Washington state for nearly 20 years by working to bring telecommunications infrastructure to underserved communities. With the experience and knowledge we have within the company paired with the tools offered in the COS Service Zones platform, I’m convinced we can serve many parallel projects across the state and help communities move the dial on their broadband access without spending exorbitant resources many just don’t have, “adds ClaireWard, Marketing and Communications Manager at NoaNet, who has been involved in several previous COS Service Zones projects.

“COS Systems originates from the rural northern parts of Sweden, not much different from rural Washington State.We’ve seen first-hand how crucial it is for remote areas to get access to high speed broadband. In the digital economy traditional boundaries like country and city borders are getting less important. Instead communities lacking the critical broadband infrastructure will inevitably be left behind. All of us at COS are proud to support NoaNet in their mission to connect every corner of Washington state to their state-of-the-art fiber network. Fiber is an essential infrastructure for today’s communities, alongside water, electricity and roads for our modern digital world.” Says Isak Finer, CMO at COS Systems  

About NoaNet

Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) is a non-profit wholesale only telecommunications network owner and provider which operates a fiber network spanning thousands of miles throughout the State of Washington. NoaNet engages their mission to serve Washington State by consistently looking for new opportunities to expand in meaningful ways that bridge the digital divide. For additional information, see www.noanet.net.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage Open Access fiber networks, using a powerful yet simple self-service interface. COS Systems takes customer needs and delivers innovative software solutions that streamline operations, accelerate revenue and deliver more satisfied subscribers. Learn more about COS Systems on www.cossystems.com.

For additional information contact:

Claire Ward
Marketing and Communications Manager
NoaNet
+1 (816) 519-2370
claire.ward@noanet.net
www.noanet.net

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

Peter Lidström, nuvarande vd på COS Systems, Jörgen Olofsson, tidigare vd på COS och nu innovationschef, Håkan Holmström, tidigare it-chef på Bostaden, Harry Jonsson, mannen bakom Kommunicera, och Johan Nyström, nuvarande it-chef på Bostaden.

In the early days of Swedish municipal fiber networks, they adopted the only model known at that time, copying the incumbent telecom providers in building, operating and providing services on their own networks. Many of them struggled as this was something a municipality was not very well suited to do and the open access model started to gain ground. One of these municipal networks that opened their network up to multiple providers was Bostaden. But as they couldn’t find the operations platform they were looking for they decided to have it built. This was the birth of what today, ten years later, is COS Systems.

[Umea, Sweden] Municipal housing company Bostaden have been providing their tenants with Internet service over their fiber network since 1995. They are the largest property owner in the city of Umea, with half of the city’s 35 000 students living in their properties. Managing a network with mainly students is challenging, since a large portion of the subscribers will move out and new move in every semester, pretty much at the same time. In 2007 they had been struggling long enough themselves delivering the services on the network, without having reached the customer satisfaction and internal efficiency they wished for.

At this time in Sweden the Open Access model was winning ground. Many of the cities who had built their own fiber optic broadband infrastructure were in the same position as Bostaden. They didn’t have the right organization for selling Internet services and dealing with end customers and decided the best way to treat the broadband infrastructure was by layering the business model and have specialized companies being responsible for each layer. Instead of competing with the private providers by selling services themselves they decided to cooperate with them.

The first layer is the physical infrastructure, the actual fiber-optic cables in the ground. This is the layer where most Swedish municipalities focus their efforts, since infrastructure deployment and maintenance are something they are often very experienced in. Many of them also build and maintain electricity, sewer, water and gas networks. If a fiber is cut, the municipality would fix it. The second layer is the operations of the network, bringing in the electronics and lighting up the network. If a network router goes down, the Operator of the network will replace it. The operations company will also manage the relationship with the service providers. The third layer is the services layer. This is where private service providers are invited to deliver their services over the infrastructure managed by the operations company, competing to deliver the highest quality service and customer support at the best terms. If a customer has a problem with their Internet service they would turn to their service provider for help.

With this separation of the very different tasks of managing a fiber network, the entities in each layer can build a highly specialized organization to do their part of the work as efficiently as possible. With an Open Access ecosystem in place, operations companies can operate multiple networks and service providers sell services over multiple networks and thereby become even more efficient by economy of scale. This is why Sweden today has among the lowest prices for broadband in the world.

In the case with Bostaden they decided they would do the first two layers and continue to operate their own network, but they couldn’t find the system they wanted to help them embrace this new business model. With a list of requirements, they turned to local IT consultancy company UDK asking for them to build the system they envisioned. The team that would later spin-off COS Systems as a separate product company began translating the requirements into code.

The system that was developed, now called COS Business Engine, was launched an early morning in June 2008. In the middle of the night every one of the more than 10,000 customers on the network had seen their service go dark as the entire network was shut down and now they all came to the Bostaden branded Marketplace to pick their new service provider having their new service delivered the minute after. It worked flawlessly and the small operations staff at Bostaden could sit back and see orders coming in and being provisioned, hundreds every hour, on their system dashboard. Today Bostaden’s network operates under the name Bostnet, has close to 15,000 active subscribers and is managed by two people, one of them working part time.

“Taking a look in the rear-view mirror it’s pretty amazing to see what has happened since we built the first version of the system. Who could have imagined that the system would be used to operate more than a hundred networks and half a million service locations in every corner of the world. It’s also fascinating how a very high-level vision can still be relevant after such a long time. It proves it must have been pretty spot on,” comments the first two developers of the platform, Peter Sjoblom and Roger Olofsson. They both still work with the system today, Peter as the Solution Architect and Roger doing the most advanced customer support and product testing.

“There’s not much to say really, “ says Bostaden IT Director Johan Nystrom with a laugh. “For ten years now COS Business Engine has been taking care of pretty much everything involved in operating our Open Access Network. It just works.”