20 Years of Community Networks – Past, Present and Future (Blog post)

Last week the Local Swedish Fiber Alliance celebrated their 20th anniversary in my home town Umea. They are a non-profit organizing many of the community networks in Sweden. My strongest take-away from the conference was how important the communities perceived their control of this infrastructure to be, especially now when smart city applications are being introduced across the networks.

“We’ve built an eight file super highway, but up until now we’ve only been riding one of the files – by bike.” This was said by someone from a muni owned network on the conference I attended last week. It was a 700 attendee conference and the 20th anniversary of the Local Swedish Fiber Alliance, a non-profit organization with 155 community networks and 130 vendors as members. It was held in my home town Umea, which is not the largest Swedish city, but one of the first in the world to get high speed broadband. Already in 1994 the local utility started to lay fiber, long before Facebook, Instagram and the dotcom bubble and burst. I remember how most people hardly knew what the Internet was back then! This visionary bet on fiber made the city of Umea and our mainly rural county rank among the highest in the world in terms of average broadband speed and fiber coverage for decades. Since then many cities, towns and counties have followed in their steps and today there are close to 200 muni networks in the country. Already in 2016 80% of Sweden had access to fiber according to PTS (The FCC of Sweden). There is a race now to fiber up the rest of the country and the latest I’ve heard, that number is getting closer to 90%.

The community owned networks are definitely still a driving force in the build-outs that are now taking fiber to small villages deep in the Swedish pine forests and remote coastal areas with summer houses. According to a recent press release by the Local Swedish Fiber Alliance the community networks connected 100 000 homes to fiber during 2017 and the planned construction for 2018 is the same number of households and investments of $500 M USD (Swedish only https://www.ssnf.org/press–opinion/pressmeddelanden/arkiv/2017/kommunala-stadsnat-planerar-att-investera-miljarder-i-bredbandsutbyggnad-under-2018/)

What strikes me is that what the cities envisioned and wanted to achieve by building this infrastructure has been realized. That said, the real revolution is still to happen – likely in only the next few years. The muni networks were mainly built because the city leaders realized that without high speed broadband, both resident and business would move elsewhere. Leaving their digital future in the hands of the incumbent telecom providers would mean too much of a risk the city leaders weren’t willing to take. Critical infrastructure is not something you happily gamble with. On the conference it was very interesting to hear the stories from the smaller communities, often with as few as a couple of thousand households or less. They all agreed their communities would have looked very different if they hadn’t built their networks, with much fewer jobs and many employers that would never have stayed or established their business in their community.

Back to my quote in the beginning of this post. It’s obvious that it’s now the full potential of these networks are beginning to be realized. The consensus seemed to be that “smart city” and “IoT” that has been talked about so much for years, is now starting to happen. With billions of new devices coming online, these fiber super highways will for the first time really be used to their full potential, something that simply would not be possible with legacy technology. It was also made obvious with new vendors on the show, displaying alarms, sensors, smart hubs, etc. There was also a strong consensus among the community networks that their ownership of the networks had never been as important as now. How would it be possible as a community to roll-out smart city services without being in control of the network and where it is deployed. Many smart city services build on ubiquitous access in order to fully deliver the potential benefits, which could never have been guaranteed if profit driven private telecom providers had been setting the agenda for the buildout or what services makes it onto the network and at what price. And the smallest communities would have been the biggest losers.

Another strong take-away was the importance of the business model. The vast majority of the networks in Sweden are operated on a True Open Access model, where a neutral operations company is responsible for deployment and maintenance of the active layer and provisioning of services, while multiple service providers sell services to the subscribers over one single infrastructure, owned by the community. In the early years the communities did their own operations, but over time many have outsourced this to one of the nationwide operations companies that can be found in Sweden. Still, by owning the network and deciding how and where the network is built out, the communities can be in charge of where service is available. With an open access model the retail service providers pay a wholesale fee to the network operator for delivering service over the network. This way the community can influence the price to the subscriber. First, the direct competition between the providers (generally on an Appstore like online marketplace where all providers and services are listed) will drive the prices down. Secondly, the city can choose to lower the wholesale price which due to competition will affect the retail price and thereby increase utilization.

My conclusion is that the decision made by many communities in Sweden to build their own fiber infrastructure has proven to be right. They have made sure their communities have been relevant throughout the digitalization that has taken place over the last decades. But the full value is now to be realized as cities in control of a high-speed broadband infrastructure have the necessary tools to embrace and be leaders in the smart city revolution.

Written by:

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46 737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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Foresite Group, Inc. and COS Systems to Deliver Gigabit Open Access Community Networks

Foresite Group, Inc. and COS Systems are happy to announce that they are partnering to help American communities take control of their digital future by building their own gigabit networks. Using a methodology that builds on community engagement and real-time collection of data to create the build-out plan and a true Open Access operating model, once built the sustainability of the networks is assured.  

New York, NY – COS Systems, the developers of the demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones and Open Access network operations platform COS Business Engine has been delivering software solutions to the mature Swedish market for community networks for over a decade and in the USA since 2013.

Foresite Group are specialists in planning and design of gigabit speed networks and has developed a turn key offering to communities looking to build their own networks, from initial market assessment to a fully built-out network operated on a true Open Access model.

“We pride ourselves on being innovative and looking at broadband in a different light.  We feel that it is more than just a feasibility study to get things moving in the right direction and with COS Systems we can get to the finish line faster. Our approach to live data analysis to build a complete network with every cost and return on investment properly reviewed gives us an advantage in the industry. Open Access Networks get us to our return on investment faster and allows broadband to be what it needs to be, which is another utility. With COS Systems we get the opportunity to work with a team that has been dealing with this model since open access was just a talking point over a decade ago. COS Systems’ community driven approach is what sets them apart from everyone else out there as they let the residents decide what they want and then we work with them to turn that dream into reality.” says Brian Snider, Network Design Practice Area Leader at Foresite Group

“In Sweden, the demand aggregation model, where you make sure your subscribers are committed before you start the build-out has been the predominant way to deploy networks for a long time. There simply is no other way to predict where customers might sign up or not, other than asking them. We are thrilled to see that this model is now rapidly being adopted in the United States as well, which our many COS Service Zones projects prove. Our partnership with Foresite Group will only help this progression and will ensure more successful networks gets built,“ says Isak Finer, CMO at COS Systems.

The COS Service Zones platform allows network builders to draw competing neighborhood zones, or “Fiberhoods”, across their targeted area and then see real-time demand grow as customers sign up before the network deployment begins. Once target take-rates are reached, the networks are deployed backed by committed customers and secured revenue.

In a true Open Access Network, the fiber is built all the way to every premise. With a neutral operations company managing this infrastructure, any provider will be invited to sell services to subscribers on equal terms. The subscribers will select their desired providers and services from an online portal, much like you would browse for apps in the Appstore. This abundance of choice for the end customer will drive the prices down and the quality of service up. For the providers this means competition and that they have to make sure to deliver on their promise to their customers. However, their risk of entering a new market is close to none, since they don’t have to make any infrastructure investments.

“In Sweden, even though being a relatively small and in large parts rural country, we have hundreds of successful community networks operated with an open access model. This has enabled Sweden to early reach a top position in the world when it comes to high speed broadband and the result is job creation in future industries and the growth of many successful companies and software apps, such as Spotify, Skype, Minecraft, etc. It is great to be working with a partner like Foresite Group who can incorporate these two models and our software into their turn-key solution for the planning, design and build of community gigabit networks, “says Bjorn Wannman, Manager Partnerships and Strategic Account at COS Systems.

The build-out of community networks in the US has been slow, but that is now about to change as community leaders are realizing how crucial highspeed broadband is to their communities. The Internet today is as important as electricity, water, sewer and gas and should be looked at it from that perspective.  UPS and FedEx don’t have their own roads for deliveries to your home so why should your internet providers be any different?

“We have seen how the interest among cities to build their own fiber networks have been growing rapidly for the last couple of years and we are very happy to have developed our turn key offering with COS and their full suite of products. We are committed to improving connectivity across the US and our method gets things moving in a direction for nothing but success.”  Brian Snider added.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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

About Foresite Group

Foresite Group Inc. is a multidisciplinary design, planning, and engineering firm with over 140 associates nationwide. Our collaborative process results in creative products and services for our clients. Foresite Group’s offices are located in Peachtree Corners, Georgia; Auburn and Birmingham, Alabama; Tampa, Florida; Austin and Dallas, Texas; Broomfield, Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; Independence, OH; Knoxville and Nashville, TN; Bothell, WA.  Learn more about Foresite Group and all their service areas at www.fg-inc.net.

For additional information contact:

Isak Finer
CMO
COS Systems
+46 (737) 519-938
Isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

Brian Snider
Network Design Practice Area Leader
Foresite Group
+1 (334) 714-1439
bsnider@fg-inc.net
www.fg-inc.net

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COS Systems Enters the Canadian Market Signing up Start.ca

After years of rapid growth in the USA, COS Systems now enters the Canadian market by signing an agreement with Ontario based Internet service provider Start.ca.

New York, NY – COS Systems, the developers of the demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones is adding yet another market to the list as they now expand into Canada.

“We’ve had our eyes on Canada for some time now, but it wasn’t until recently we did a real effort to get into the market. It’s not that there haven’t been opportunities, but our feeling has been that the spur in build-outs hasn’t started yet, and we have been very busy on our existing markets. In USA only, we’ve started two to three new projects every month this year,” says COS Systems Chief Marketing Officer Isak Finér.

The COS Service Zones platform allows network builders to draw competing neighborhood zones, or “Fiberhoods,” across their targeted area and then see real-time demand grow as customers sign up before the network deployment begins. Once target take-rates are reached, the networks are deployed backed by committed customers and secured revenue.

Based in London, Ontario, Start.ca has been delivering Internet services since 1995. Known for providing the best customer service in the industry, Start.ca was honoured to win the London Chamber of Commerce’s Large Business of the Year award in 2017.

“We are focused on continuing to build out our fiber network in London and working with COS Service Zones will help us do this in a very efficient way,” says Start.ca CEO Peter Rocca.

“In the last year we’ve started to see indications of more Canadian fiber projects being planned and decided to make our market introduction on the Canadian ISP Summit conference in Toronto last month. It’s great to already start our first project, which we hope and believe will be followed by many more in the near future. The fact that it’s such a renowned company as Start.ca makes it even greater. We couldn’t have imagined a better way to enter the Canadian market” says Isak Finér.

“We are very happy about working with Start.ca to help them validate demand for their new buildouts and to now enter the Canadian market. It seems the fiber revolution is coming to Canada now, and we aim to be there, helping network builders optimize their buildouts based on committed subscribers. It seems that Open Access is also being discussed as an interesting model to ensure broadband to everyone at fair turns. If that happens, we will be there waiting with our leading software to manage True Open Access Networks, “says COS Systems CEO Peter Lidstrom.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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

About Start.ca

Based in London, Ontario, Start.ca has been providing home and business internet services for over twenty years. Today they are rated #1 in customer service across all of North America and provide high speed cable, DSL and fibre internet services throughout Ontario and parts of Quebec. Learn more about the company at www.start.ca.

For additional information contact:

Isak Finer
CMO
COS Systems
+46 (737) 519-938
Isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

Leanne Beattie
Media Relations
Start.ca
+1 (519) 963-1840 x 8169
lbeattie@start.ca
www.start.ca

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Existing Owners Continue to Invest in COS Systems

Impressed by the fast growth in revenue, new customers and market position, Ekstrom Invest and Partnerinvest Norr make another investment in COS Systems, the leading provider of software for operators of True Open Access Networks as well as demand aggregation platforms for fiber network builders.

Umea, Sweden – Two years ago Ekstrom Invest and Partnerinvest Norr jointly made a first investment in COS Systems to support their expansion in the USA. Today they are making another substantial investment in the company.

“We are seeing a rapid development of the financial results, but more importantly of COS Systems’ market position. Combined with the strong growth within the fiber network industry globally, COS Systems is well positioned for extraordinary growth in the coming years, “says Gunnar Ekstrom, Chairman of Ekstrom Invest.

“The company and the market are both rapidly moving in the right direction. This new investment is a natural step to further accelerate the growth, “says Ingela Lidstrom, CEO of Partnerinvest Norr.

COS Systems delivers cloud-hosted software to plan, build, and manage broadband networks globally. The COS Service Zones platform allows network builders to draw competing zones, or “Fiberhoods,” across their city and see real-time demand grow as customers sign up before the network deployment begins. Once target take-rates are reached, the networks are deployed backed by committed customers and secured revenue. In the USA only, there are currently about 40 projects where the solution is used to ensure that fiber networks are built with the signed-up customers needed to ensure a return on investment.

COS Business Engine is a proven network management solution, excelling in the operations of True Open Access Networks. In a True Open Access Network, the fiber infrastructure is made available to multiple providers to sell services to end customers. This model ensures high quality and reasonable prices of services due to the competition between providers, not seen on single provider networks.

“Open Access has been the common business model for municipal networks in Sweden for a long time. Now the interest in building these kind of networks in the USA is clearly increasing, especially among cities and electric utilities. This new investment enables us to secure an even stronger position on the fast growing American fiber market,” says Peter Lidstrom, CEO of COS Systems.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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

About Ekstrom Invest

Ekstrom Invest invests in fast growing companies posed to be the market leaders in their niche. With a philosophy to take active ownership they draw on their vast experience from previous investments to develop the companies’ profitability. Investments span both to traditional as well as emerging industries, such as finance, administration, health care, telecommunications, industry, construction and property development, media, etc. Learn more about Ekstrom Invest on www.ekstrominvest.se

About Partnerinvest Norr

Partnerinvest Norr is a regional investment firm active in the northern parts of Sweden. Investments are not tied to any specific industry, but focus rather on scalable business models and strong entrepreneurs. Partnerinvest Norr’s three funds sum up to total investments of $50M and currently about 50 active investments. Learn more about Partnerinvest on www.partnerinvestnorr.se

For additional information contact:

Peter Lidstrom
CEO
COS Systems
+46 (706) 565-872
peter.lidstrom@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

Sofia Ekström
CEO
Ekström Invest
+46 (735) 200-882
sofia.ekstrom@ekstrominvest.se
www.ekstrominvest.se

Ingela Lidstrom
CEO
Partnerinvest Norr
+46 (706) 244-252
ingela@partnerinvestnorr.se
www.partnerinvestnorr.se

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City of Anacortes Speeds to Fiber Take-Rates Supported by NoaNet and COS Service Zones

City leaders in Anacortes, Washington identified an opportunity to bring community-owned high-speed broadband access to their city.  To understand the interest and support from their residents for building a community owned network, they turned to NoaNet for support. Through this partnership, they launched a city-wide demand aggregation campaign, utilizing the built-in survey functionality in COS Service Zones to determine which neighborhoods had the greatest need for better broadband and get a pulse for the general attitude for a city owned network. After only the first weeks the results are overwhelmingly positive.

Anacortes, WA – Anacortes, a city of about 7,500 households lies beautifully located on Fidalgo Island, Northwest of Seattle. Despite the presence of incumbent carriers that are providing broadband services to parts of the area, many parts of the Island are lacking access to affordable high-speed broadband services. The city is installing fiber-optics for their water and waste-water telemetry system and has been exploring the idea of expanding this fiber backbone to facilitate a network for use by residents and businesses. In September 2017 they decided to evaluate the interest in the community for a community owned network. NoaNet (Northwest Open Access Network) is a non-profit municipal corporation which operates an extensive open-access fiber network and is present in every county of Washington State. With NoaNet’s regional presence and expertise in fiber broadband and open-access networks, it was a natural fit for the city to leverage them as a resource as they explored the possibility of creating their own community network. The recently announced partnership between NoaNet and COS Systems opened up the possibility to utilize the demand aggregation platform COS Services Zones combined with NoaNet’s expertise in demand aggregation campaigns to run a city-wide neighborhood based survey.

The campaign is centered around Anacortes’ online COS Service Zones portal which is where residents are directed to show their interest level in the proposed project and share their current Internet satisfaction levels by taking the survey. The two persons managing the system and the campaign are Emily Schuh, Director of Administrative Services at the City of Anacortes and Claire Ward, Marketing and Communications Associate at NoaNet.

“The first few weeks we focused on setting up the customer facing portal with local pictures and texts as well as creating flyers and other marketing materials. With our experience from other campaigns in Washington State we had material we could replicate and a good idea about what outreach tactics would work,” says Ward.

“When we launched the portal on October 9th we had a well-defined plan on how to spread the awareness. Upon launch, Mayor Gere sent a personalized email to key City stakeholders and staff with a link to the portal encouraging them to take the survey and spread the word to their friends and family. We also hosted a Champion orientation where we invited community members who had expressed interest in learning more about this project to an information session. We prepared binders for them with information they could take with them when they went to discuss the project with neighbors, as well as stocked them up with printed flyers, tear sheets, and promotional items with the survey URL printed on them. After that champion orientation, we had ten more champions sign up in the Service Zones platform in just a few days. We also sent out an envelope printed with the survey URL on the city’s utility bill mailout.” says Schuh.

Multiple local newspapers and publications have also run articles on the city’s survey, further bringing it to the attention of the community. In less than two weeks from launch more than 1000 positive survey responses were received through the platform, which is about 15% of all households in the city. The neighborhoods with the highest response were already at 50% positive response or higher. Now the focus of managing the campaign has shifted from getting the word out to interacting with residents directly.

“The city is engaging with community members directly through Facebook, answering questions and concerns that are commented on. We’ve also spent a great deal of effort on promptly responding to emails we’ve been receiving”, says Ward.

“Anacortes is a very involved and organized community. The tremendous sense of pride and responsibility residents feel for their community is evident by how engaged they have been throughout this process so far. We have received excellent questions from residents, which of course puts pressure on the city to provide thoughtful answers.  I think responsiveness has been key in Anacortes. With an engaged community, they are eager to learn as much as they can about how this project could be an asset to their community. Timely and thoughtful responses to questions, holding community meetings and engaging face to face, through social media, or via phone have all reinforced that this is a community project, which by definition belongs to the community. With a community of engaged citizens, this has thus far been a recipe for excellent response rates,” concludes Schuh.

The next step for Anacortes is another Champion meeting on November 16th to engage with new Champions signed up through the COS Service Zones platform, update all Champions on survey progress and initial results, as well as talk about the possibilities moving forward.

“As providers of the demand aggregation platform used by the City of Anacortes it’s really rewarding to see a campaign take off like this. We’re impressed by the speed at which NoaNet and the City prepared the launch of the campaign both in setting up the customer facing portal, but also the off-line marketing material. But what sticks out the most in the Anacortes project is that they have the best Champions group that we have ever seen in any project in the USA. One local Champion, Bryan Klein of the Flounder Bay Zone has referred over 90 neighbors to take the survey in just two weeks. That’s truly amazing. Now we at COS are crossing our fingers that demand proves to be good enough for the city to move forward and build the fiber infrastructure that we believe is as critical as water, electricity and roads in our modern digital world.” Says Isak Finer, CMO at COS Systems

About City of Anacortes

The City of Anacortes is located in Skagit County, WA on beautiful Fidalgo Island. It has about 16,500 residents and is the gateway to the San Juan Islands. The city currently operates water and wastewater utility services. For more information on Anacortes visit  https://www.cityofanacortes.org. For the COS Services broadband survey platform, visit cityofanacortes.servicezones.net.

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 http://www.noanet.net.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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:

Emily Schuh
Director of Administrative Services
City of Anacortes
+1 (360) 299-1941
broadband@cityofanacortes.org
www.cityofanacortes.org

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

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46 737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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NoaNet and COS Systems Partner to Support Mason PUD 3 in Major Fiber Expansion

Mason PUD 3 provides broadband access to over 1 000 households in addition to businesses, anchor institutes and their own facilities on their open-access fiber optic network. This summer, the PUD (Public Utility District) ramped up their network expansion by offering their customers a favorable amortization plan to recover the installation costs, thereby not restricting residents from signing up due to high initial expenses. To stay within budget and optimize the order of build out they turned to NoaNet  for support in demand aggregation. By utilizing the COS Service Zones platform NoaNet offers this in partnership with COS Systems.

Shelton, WA – Mason County is nestled in the rural southeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Like most rural communities, residents are clamoring for better broadband. Since 2000, Mason PUD 3 has been extending its open-access, nondiscriminatory fiber optic network to various regions of its service territory.

Besides serving its own facilities, PUD 3’s network reaches over 1,000 businesses, homes, and anchor institutions.

Recently computed PUD 3 customer surveys showed that slow speeds, high costs, or unavailable service were frustrating shortcomings for those who live in the more rural areas of Mason County.

“PUD staff was happy with the clarity the survey provided,” said Justin Holzgrove, Mason PUD 3 telecommunications & community relations manager. “A large number of county residents wanted PUD fiber connections. We are good at what we do: providing reliable fiber service that retail service providers can use to deliver high quality broadband services.”

In July, 2017 Mason PUD 3 commissioners approved a “Fiberhood Program,” designed to expand access to PUD 3’s fiber optic network for gigabit speed broadband service. Holzgrove added, “This program is a milestone in the history of PUD 3.”

To save money and improve the effectiveness of network extensions, the PUD turned to the Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) for support in demand aggregation. Because NoaNet uses the COS Service Zones platform it offered its use in partnership with COS.

PUD 3’s “Fiberhood” process identifies potential neighborhoods that are unserved or underserved by broadband providers. Among other factors, expansion of service is based on a guaranteed level of customer commitment to obtain service from the fiber optic network. Cost recovery for the project comes through a monthly “construction adder fee” paid back over 12 years. As a public utility, it is PUD 3’s intent to recover costs, not create a profit.

“A demand aggregation campaign to secure a commitment for connections was based on two components,” said Holzgrove.  “First, we can ensure that we are investing in areas with demand and commitment. Connecting areas with great initial take-rates, means revenue to fund continuous deployment. Second, many residents are clamoring for faster and more reliable Internet connection. Building first, where most people want it and will commit for it, is fair.”

Mason PUD 3 is a founding member of NoaNet. The PUD sought NoaNet’s support in setting up the demand aggregation campaign.

“Kitsap PUD, another one of our forming members, has had positive experiences using COS System’s software,” said Angela Bennink, communications and outreach director at NoaNet. “We recently initiated a partnership to broaden NoaNet offerings to include demand aggregation and Open Access network operations. In cooperation with the COS experts we are happy to support Mason PUD 3 with the software and support they need to quickly launch their demand aggregation campaign.”

“At COS we are very excited to be a part of this project,” said Bjorn Wannman, COS systems manager of partnerships and strategic accounts. “Mason PUD 3 has a confirmed need for better broadband in their area, and a very attractive offer to their subscribers. I am positive it will be a great success, especially with such an experienced partner as NoaNet by their side.”

About Mason PUD3

Mason PUD 3 serves over 34,000 electric customers in Mason County, Washington. PUD 3 also runs a wholesale fiber optic telecommunications network, which supports the operation of its electricity system. For more information see www.pud3.org/fiberhood. For the COS Service Zones campaign platform, visit www.pud3.servicezones.net.

About NoaNet

Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet) is a wholesale only telecommunications provider. With a world that is becoming ever more digital, it is critical for communities to have access to high quality telecommunications technology that is affordable. We engage our mission to serve as a platform provider for the State by consistently looking for new opportunities to expand in Washington in meaningful ways that bridge the digital divide. Our goal is to be innovative and meet the changing needs of the Washington community. For additional information, see http://www.noanet.net.

NoaNet was formed in 2000 as a non-profit corporation by a number of Public Utility Districts in Washington State in order to provide access to high speed broadband statewide. They currently offer fiber related services and operate a fiber ring spanning thousands of miles throughout the entire State of Washington allowing the forming PUD’s, but also private providers and municipalities to connect to the backbone to serve areas where high speed broadband was often not previously available.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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:

Justin Holzgrove
Telecommunications & Community Relations Manager
Mason PUD 3
+1 (360) 432-5323
justinh@masonpud3.org
www.pud3.org

Angela Bennink
Communications and Outreach Director
NoaNet
+1 (360) 271-3425
angela.bennink@noanet.net
www.noanet.net

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46 737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

COS Systems Once Again Recognized as a FTTH Top 100 Company in the USA

FTTH Top 100 2017

For the 5th consecutive year, COS Systems was recognized by Broadband Communities Magazine as one of the Top 100 companies in the Fiber To The Home Industry in the United States. COS Systems software solutions are contributing to the increasing pace of fiber deployment in the country by allowing fiber builders to aggregate demand prior to build-out and enabling Network operators to manage their open access fiber networks efficiently.

New York, NY – “Ever since 2013 when we intensified our efforts to expand to the US market, Broadband Communities Magazine has acknowledged the importance of the software solutions and the experience we bring to the market. In the last year I believe that more than ever we have proved our importance to move the Fiber Broadband Industry forward and we are very proud to receive this acknowledgement from Broadband Communities for yet another year,” says COS systems CEO Peter Lidstrom.

COS Systems was founded by fiber veterans in Umea, Sweden in 2011 being spun out from one of the city’s leading IT consultancy firms. The city of Umea has one of the world’s first community owned fiber optic networks which started building out in 1994. This led to an ecosystem and creation of companies in the fiber broadband industry throughout the city. Today the city boasts software companies like COS Systems, which in 2016 was recognized by leading tech and business magazines as one of Sweden’s 33 hottest tech companies, but the city also has several open access operation companies and nationwide service providers selling services on over 200 open access networks.

The USA is now COS Systems’ largest market and the company is combining the experience gained on the mature Swedish market with new perspectives and ideas from the fast growing American market to develop innovative software solutions that will benefit fiber customers in the USA as well as globally. In 2016 COS Systems doubled its customer base and the growth has continued in 2017.

“Our success proves that our products are a great fit for the US market and I believe it will be even more so in the years to come as we now see the increasing interest from communities to build their own Open Access networks, which is where we really excel,” says COS Systems CEO Peter Lidstrom.

 “COS Systems has successfully tackled two major obstacles to deploying community broadband. Its software helps communities ensure that they can operate their networks cost-effectively and generate enough revenue to pay for deployment costs,” comments Masha Zager, Editor at Broadband Communities overseeing the work to select the Top 100 companies of the year.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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
+46 737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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South Valley Internet to Build Rural Fiber Using COS Service Zones

South Valley Internet (SVI) has been serving South Santa Clara County with Internet for over 20 years. After recently being awarded a grant from the state of California to expand their network reach, they will now utilize COS Service Zones to aggregate demand for their Fiber enabled Internet and VOIP services and use the customer interest to determine the build-out order in this new expansion.

San Martin, CA – “We’ve been in this industry for a long time and we’ve evolved from offering dial-up services, copper based services, point-to-point wireless and are now thrilled to join the fiber revolution” says South Valley Internet President & COO Elise Brentnall. “The grant funding we were just awarded will allow us to expand faster and offer high speed broadband to people in our community who currently have very limited or no service at all. Still, despite our excitement we won’t rush into construction, but expand in a way where we ensure that our budget for this project will allow us to reach as many customers as possible, which is why we’ve decided to use COS Service Zones.”

CASF (California Advanced Services Fund) was authorized in 2007 to bridge the “digital divide” in unserved and underserved areas in the state and is funded by a surcharge rate on revenues collected by telecommunications carriers from end-users. SVI has been awarded funding to build a fiber network infrastructure in Paradise Valley, located west of their home town San Martin.

“Paradise Valley is not a very large area, but it is quite rural which drives the cost of deployment up. We know we need most of the households to subscribe to make the numbers add up. That is why we will use COS Service Zones to sign up the customers before we initiate the build out. That way we can secure revenue early to minimize the economic risk in our investment and also use the known demand to plan out the phases of our deployment. We will build first where we have the most subscribers and thus serve those who want our services most first and also maximize our initial revenue. It’s a win-win for us and the community,” says Brentnall.

“To us at COS, the team at SVI are heroes. To build broadband networks in urban city centers is one thing, but to be able to serve the rural areas is much harder. We are excited to be part of this project and happy that our products are helping to connect unserved Americans to the networks of the future and the new economy,” says COS Systems CMO Isak Finer.

“High speed broadband is essential for economic development and quality of life. As a local company it feels fantastic to be able to offer the residents and businesses of Paradise Valley access to all the new services enabled by our fiber network now and in the future,“ says Brentnall.

About South Valley Internet

South Valley Internet was founded in 1994. Our mission is simple, “SVI will provide the best Internet and phone service possible.” Our vision is to use innovative technology to continually improve our products and services. This includes our commitment to always deliver top quality customer service and excellent value. We are dedicated to becoming the communications company of choice for the South Valley including the communities of Morgan Hill, Gilroy, San Martin and Hollister.

About COS Service Zones

“Build it, and they will come?” Now, there’s a better way to roll-out fiber-optics by beginning with committed customers. No more deploying from one end of town to the other only to chase customers after. Just follow these steps:

  1. Draw up multiple competing zones across your city or town.
  2. See demand build in real-time as customers signup using your branded website.
  3. Wait until target take-rate is reached before deploying to accelerate profitability.

Our mission: Subscriber-backed, successful fiber, with no more failed projects. COS Service Zones brings broadband to homes all across the globe. Let’s discover the demand in your community.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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:

Elise J. Brentnall
President & COO
SVI Incorporated
+1 (800)-899-4125
elise.brentnall@garlic.com
www.garlic.com

 

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46 737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

COS Service Zones Feature in Focus – Service Layers

COS Service Zones Service Layers

Manage Varying Installation Costs and Availability Effectively

When deploying a new broadband network, be it Fiber or Wireless, there are always circumstances that make it more expensive or even impossible to reach some customers. In the case of a Fiber build it might be tough ground conditions, unusually far between houses or simply no space on poles if doing an aerial build. If deploying a wireless network, it might just be the topography of the landscape that makes certain locations unreachable from the tower or the location of your antennas. When it comes to the varying cost, you might decide that it will even out over time and that everyone will have the same (or no) connection and installation fee. But how do you handle those locations that you will not be able to serve, serve only at a significantly higher price for the end customer, or perhaps only with an alternative technology?

Well, if swings and round-abouts doesn’t do it for you and you don’t want to have your customer care staff talking to disappointed customers who had their hopes up only to be informed that their home was unfortunately not within reach – the Service Layer functionality of COS Service Zones might be the solution you are looking for.

But first, if you are new to COS Service Zones, here is a very short description of what this software is; COS Service Zones is a cloud hosted and web based broadband demand aggregation platform. It enables network builders to split their intended network footprint, their Service Area(s), into smaller neighborhood zones, or “fiberhoods”. Each zone will have a take-rate target (a percentage of the housholds) for the neighborhood to reach in order to qualify for the next phase in the race to get connected to the new broadband network. The platform comes with out-of-the-box surveying functionality to gather interest and information about existing providers and services in the initial phases of the project, and signup functionality with optional credit card deposits. It is also used throughout the construction to proactively keep each neighborhood informed about how the build-out will happen on their streets.

Now, let’s give an example of when the Service Layer comes into play. In a neighborhood, there is one street where the lots are very large and the houses have very long driveways. Connecting these houses in an underground fiber scenario, would be three times more expensive than the typical home. At the same installation price for the subscriber as all other homes, it would never pay off to connect them. In this scenario it’s most suitable to use the address based Service Layer. In the Administration Portal of COS Service Zones you create a new Service Layer and define the addresses that should be a part of it. Then you create specific service offerings that should be available in this service layer, in this case the same fiber services, but with a higher initial connection fee.  Now, if a person in one of these houses would search for their address, they would find themselves being in their neighborhood Service Zone, but the services would not be what everyone else are presented, but the specific services you defined for the address based service layer.

The geography based Service Layer would more likely be used in the wireless scenario. Let’s say you have determined the location where you would place your wireless tower, if enough customers in the surrounding area would sign up. Based on the tower placement, the topography and the equipment you can use the expertise of different companies to help create coverage maps, meaning the areas where the signal will reach and where it will not reach. These kind of maps can be used to create a Service Layer that is not made up of addresses, but rather a geographical area. The services offered are tied to the Service Layer and thus, when potential customers search for their address in COS Service Zones, only those whos’ addresses’ coordinates are within the boundaries of the Service Layer will be presented with a service offering.

Of course Service Layers can overlap. At one location the customer might belong to two Service layers. Exemplifying this with the two scenarios above, a person in one of those more expensive locations could also be in the coverage area of a wireless tower and could then choose between the Fiber service with the higher installation fee, or the wireless connection also available at his address.

In short, a Service Layer is a group of addresses where a specific service offering is available, defined as a simple list or by geographical boundaries on a map. It’s a great way to be proactive in your sales towards future customer, avoiding a lot of questions and disappointment. By using this functionality you can pinpoint your offerings down to the address level and the customers can inform themselves on what is available at their exact address whenever it suites them, without having to wait in any phone que. You get more effective and your customers will get correct information faster. A true win-win.

 

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Demand Proven by COS Service Zones Guides Spiral Internet as They Connect Nevada County

Service Zones Guides Spiral Internet as They Connect Nevada County

In 2010 Google announced they would choose a city to connect with Gigabit Internet. When their home town wasn’t chosen, Spiral Internet founder John Paul decided to bring Fiber Internet to the county himself. With years of support from the community and its leaders and demand proven by a more recent COS Service Zones demand aggregation campaign, the time to start deploying fiber is now.

Nevada City, CA – “It’s a fantastic feeling to get the final preparations done for our soon-to-be gigabit fiber optic network deployment” says Spiral Internet CEO John Paul. “The start of this incredible journey was the work on the city’s application for Google Fiber that I led back in 2010. We understood we probably wouldn’t be chosen, but it was amazing to see how many people were willing to engage in the project and it proved to us that better Internet is badly needed in our home county. It is this enthusiasm for better connections that has given us at Spiral the energy to pursue our dream to connect the county with fiber throughout these years.”

Spiral Internet has been an ISP in the county since 2006 and has traditionally delivered mainly DSL over AT&T’s network, but that is about to change. Funding has been granted for a fiber deployment with the initial phase of the build-out planned for the summer of 2017.

“When getting closer to deployment and investments in construction work and equipment, it becomes more important than ever to make sure we spend our dollars in the best possible way. Late 2016 we signed an agreement with COS Systems to use their demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones to start taking signups in predefined neighborhoods with take-rate targets to be reached. We launched the platform on January 1st and have since then seen demand grow as people take the built-in survey in areas for future expansions and signup doing a credit card deposit in our first phase area. Our best neighborhood already has 83% of the residents pre-signed up with deposits, which is fantastic! We know it won’t be a bad investment building there,” says John Paul.

 

“Spiral Internet is a great company to work with. They have planned this Fiber build-out thoroughly and have rallied their community in a fantastic way. We are grateful to be part of the journey and contribute as we can with our demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones. Now we are eager to hear from Spiral what their subscribers say when they get to try a Gig connection, perhaps for the very first time,” says COS Systems CMO Isak Finer.

About Spiral

Spiral became an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in May 2006 when the Nevada County Community Network (NCCN) Board of Directors asked Chip Carman and John Paul, the then owners of Spiral, to bring new services and energies to their customer base. Because of Spiral’s active community volunteer work in western Nevada County, NCCN felt we were the perfect fit to take care of the over 200 non-profit organizations, as well as over 1500 customers that rely on friendly, reliable Internet access, web site hosting and technical support. We thought about it for a few days, then came back and said “yes”.

Since then, Spiral has provided DSL service over the AT&T network, and still some dial-up service to customers. In 2015, Spiral launches the Bright Fiber Network, the first gigagibt 100% fiber optic to the home/business Internet service in rural northern California. You can watch our short promotional video “It Starts with Light” by clicking here. And watch our 90-minute Gigabit Launch event (with lots of information about our project) by clicking here.

About COS Service Zones

“Build it, and they will come?” Now, there’s a better way to roll-out fiber-optics by beginning with committed customers. No more deploying from one end of town to the other only to chase customers after. Just follow these steps:

  1. Draw up multiple competing zones across your city or town.
  2. See demand build in real-time as customers signup using your branded website.
  3. Wait until target take-rate is reached before deploying to accelerate profitability.

Our mission: Subscriber-backed, successful fiber, with no more failed projects. COS Service Zones brings broadband to homes all across the globe. Let’s discover the demand in your community.

About COS Systems

COS SYSTEMS is a leading provider of software to plan, deploy and manage modern broadband networks that support services from one or more providers, 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:

John Paul
CEO
Spiral Internet
+1 (530) 478-9822
johnp@spiral.com
www.spiral.com

Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems
+46 737 51 99 38
isak.finer@cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com