Late 2013 we released the first version of our demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones. Our primary focus was to help those building out fiber in the US get enough customers signed up so that they could move forward with their projects with lower risk of failure. Since then our platform has been used in over 100 projects in the US alone. What have we learned so far? Well, a lot, and some of it we will share with you in this article.

COS System’s founders started building software for the fiber network operators in Sweden 20 years ago. At this time the saying “build it and they will come” was still the most common strategy (if you can call that a strategy?) behind fiber buildouts. The thinking was that a new technology, literally lightyears better than what was in place before (in Sweden primarily ADSL and traditional dial-up modems), would make customers switch over without hesitation. It soon proved though that it wasn’t that easy. Studies have shown that over time the fiber take-rates tend to reach over 70 percent, but this often took 10 years or more. Since large parts of Sweden, like the US, is rural, a more cautious method of building fiber was starting to be used. When approaching a new area you tried to get engaged with the residents through meetings, information and even door-to-door campaigns. You defined their neighborhood boundaries and explained that they needed to come together and show that enough of them were willing to sign up before the fiber build-out could start. It was generally done with pen and paper and with the help of grassroots in the neighborhoods who volunteered in rallying their neighbors. Often these grassroots were those running a home business and those with kids who made the phone line busy every night and the phone bill break the family budget. This method was very effective in avoiding the worst potholes where low take-rates would make the network builder loose money for years, but it was a demanding administrative task.  

In 2012, when COS Systems first started to look at what the fiber industry looked like in the US, we decided to build a platform to make this method digital and to the largest extent automated. We already had a BSS/OSS (Business and Operations Support System), but it was too early to sell that platform, because the networks had to be built first! The good thing was that we could use a lot of the experience we had from building that platform and a large portion of the core code.

We built the product around a couple of major concepts. First we needed a way to manage people’s expectations and the level of commitment asked for. The result was the two first phases a neighborhood zone could be in; Survey and Signup (Zones are now often referred to as “fiberhoods” – more on that later). In the Survey phase people are asked to take a non-committing survey asking questions about the performance of their current Internet connection and of course how likely they are to sign up to the new network potentially being built. If the take-rate target is reached in Survey phase, the zone can be moved to the next phase which is the Signup phase. This phase is suitable to use if you know you will be able to start building the network in the near future if the take-rate targets are met. The customers would agree to the terms of the connection to the network and later we also added functionality to gather deposits.

From our customers building fiber we’ve gotten to know that the most hectic phase is still the construction phase since the subscribers typically have a lot of questions at this stage. They want to know when the installation will happen, how it will affect their house, their lawn, etc. The zone phase Construction is therefore important in order to be proactive in spreading information to the subscribers in those zones. The last phase is Connected and in this phase you will direct the subscribers already connected to your Marketplace to sign up for services or sign up laggards who didn’t sign up before.

Still, the most important feature is probably the Champion functionality. This is a way to automate the identification, signup and management of the local grassroots. On the COS Service Zones platform there is an entire program relating to the Champions. They apply to become your champions on the website, you approve them manually after checking their willingness to really help out. All champions will get a referral code and can thereafter go out and recruit their neighbors to the network.

Late 2013, the first version of the software was ready for launch. Imagine our surprise when during developing the platform, Google Fiber had launched in it’s first city, Kansas City, using a methodology similar to ours but without the first Survey phase. What we called zones, they called Fiberhoods and we got a much easier way of communicating what our platform did! The methodology even got its own term; Demand Aggregation.

So, that was the background, now what about the learnings from over 100 demand aggregation projects so far in the US?

First, a big misconception has to be made clear. The methodology was not, unlike many beliefs, designed to help private providers cherry pick the richest and most profitable neighborhoods, to leave the rest of the city unserved. Where we come from the networks we work with are generally community owned Open Access Networks (You can read more about open access here). In this model the fiber infrastructure is treated as a city owned utility that is open for any provider to deliver services on. The goal is to build fiber to everyone, just as with electricity and water. But I believe I speak for any taxpayer in the world when I say that you would expect your politicians to use the taxes you pay in a responsible and effective way. By building the network first to where high take-rates ensures a positive return on the investment, the cash flow from good neighborhoods can eventually be used to cover cost for further expansion. This means that the neighborhood that potentially could benefit the most might not get it first, but at least they will get it. If just building in random order or only to unserved areas the money might not last long and large parts of the area remain unserved. Use the method to connect all and remember – the biggest benefit is not the revenue generated, but all the benefits access to high-speed internet will bring to the community.

It was hard to choose when it comes to concrete advise we want to share in this post when running a demand aggregation campaign. Please feel free to reach out if you want to discuss more.

  • Don’t make the zones too large. We have found that an ideal size is 50-100 homes. If the number of neighbors you need to convince into signing up is for example 200, it will feel like your effort won’t make a difference. If it says you need 20 more it will feel like it’s within reach and you will be more eager to go out and spread the word.
  • Kick the campaign off with a blast. Even though the platform builds upon word-of-mouth and neighbors talking to each other, you need to make people aware of the project and the COS Service Zones site as a start. If you already send bills to your community (ideal for utilities), include information about the fiber project. Talk to local news, both papers and radio and make them write about the project. Invite people to an information meeting. Those who show up will be the ones most eager to get fiber. Have them sign up at that meeting and convince them to be your champions. They will be your best sales people.
  • Use the community to spread information. In underserved and unserved areas it’s not sure people understand why they would need better internet and some education might be needed. By uploading both marketing and educational information on the COS Service Zones site, you make it available for download and print-out to anyone who wants to share it. This way it will reach more people and you will be able to control the messaging.
  • Use your first buildouts as marketing. We’ve found that in areas where there have not been many options for high speed Internet before, the experience of the first customers is a very good thing to market. Interview your first customers in their homes and let them share their story about how their new service works.
  • Communicate like a pro (or use a pro). Even if building fiber is an incredibly positive thing, there still might be those questioning the project. It might be your competitors who are threatened or just people who think money should be spent on something else than new technology (especially if it’s a municipally funded buildout). You must quickly respond in a professional way to any misconceptions being spread. If you don’t have this competency inhouse you could hire a communications firm to help you with this as well as with marketing.

What we have found over the years is that with the COS Service Zones platform, some smart marketing tactics and good communications, you can really use your entire community as your sales organization and quickly reach remarkable take-rates. In fact, if successful you will be doing much more than just demand aggregation – Perhaps it is time to update the industry term to Demand Generation?

For additional information contact:

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

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@www.cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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

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@www.cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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@www.cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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@www.cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

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@www.cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

Skekraft Best City Network - COS Systems

The Swedish Local Fibre Alliance is a non-profit trade association for network owners. It was established in 1998 and has about one hundred open access muni networks as members. At their annual conference, they announced Skekraft as the Best City Network in Sweden 2017.

Skelleftea Kraft Fiber Network (Skekraft.net) started their fiber deployment in the early 2000’s. After being a single provider themselves for the first years, they took the decision in 2009 to migrate over to an Open Access model. The positive effects from bringing in competition was immediate and today they have 11 providers offering Gigabit speed Internet, IP phone services, TV services as well as triple play packages on their network. With an abundance of providers and services to choose from and thus very competitive prices, they are boasting very impressive take-rates. They reach almost all of Skelleftea, a city with 33 000 residents, and a few of the larger surrounding villages, but are now expanding further out into the rural parts of the county they serve.

”In Skelleftea the city network has had the courage to try new approaches to increase the quality of their network. By organizationally separating the daily network operations from the group responsible for the network expansions with great success, Skelleftea Kraft proves that it’s not only about building networks, but also about operating them in a manner ensuring that the highest quality standards are met”, says Jorgen Svardh, Chairman of the Swedish Local Fibre Alliance, when announcing the winners.

 

“At COS Systems we are very proud that one of our first customers has been awarded this prestigious title. Ever since 2010 we’ve provided them with our BSS/OSS solution COS Business Engine to support them in their Open Access network operations. During these years we’ve seen their take-rate increase greatly and the ever improving financial figures they present makes your jaw drop, especially when considering that the prices of services on their network are among the lowest in Sweden as well as globally. We are also very pleased that we are part of their expansion process with COS Service Zones, helping them to generate and aggregate demand for fiber prior to deployment and thereby enabling them to build out their network where they will have the best ROI,” says COS Systems CMO Isak Finer.

 

“A well-deserved recognition for a fantastic job being done not just today, but every single day of the year. Our warmest congratulations to Skekraft!“ concludes Peter Lidstrom, CEO of COS Systems.

About COS Systems

COS Systems delivers cloud-hosted software to plan, build, and operate broadband networks globally.

COS Service Zones allows network builders to draw competing zones, or “Fiberhoods,” across their city and see real-time demand grow as customers sign up using branded websites. Once target take-rates are reached, the networks are deployed backed by committed customers and secured revenue. COS Service Zones delivers subscriber-backed, successful broadband networks, and no more failed projects.

COS Business Engine is a proven network management solution, supporting both single provider and Open Access Networks. Subscribers buy their Internet services from an online marketplace, which increases take rates, ARPU, and customer satisfaction, as the network owner can offer 24/7 availability, while reaching maximum operations efficiency, thanks to the extensive use of self-service solutions.

COS Systems takes customer needs and creates innovative software solutions that streamline customers’ business processes, boost sales and profitability, and create satisfied customers.

For additional information, contact:

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

Smithville fiber using COS Service Zones to expanding in Bloomington

In addition to connecting business and residential customers in their ILEC areas with fiber, Indiana’s largest independent telephone company, Smithville, has been making big investments over the past few years to also  expand its fiber-optic network to business customers in CLEC areas throughout the state. Now they are looking to extend their high-speed fiber offering to residents in these challenging areas as well. To do so, they are using COS System’s demand aggregation platform COS Service Zones to secure that enough residents are willing to sign up to ensure a return on the investment justifying the build-out.

 

Bloomington, IN – “Building fiber here in Indiana is not an easy task with all the rock and Limestone. When targeting businesses, it’s easier to get the numbers together but we have now been considering our options on how to bring fiber to the residents in our CLEC areas for quite some time. We concluded that there’s only one way to do it without taking too big risks. We need to sell before we build,” says Smithville COO Dave Brodin.

 

“Initially we thought about developing something for this ourselves, but then found that COS Systems actually have an out-of-the box solution designed to do exactly what we wanted to do. It allows us to split our targeted area into competing neighborhoods and set take-rate targets for each neighborhood to reach. People can pre-signup for services, making a credit card deposit to verify that they are committed. People who are willing to make an extra effort in getting their neighborhood connected can also sign up as Champions through the website and we take really good care of those local heroes, get to know them and then use their help to do some of the local marketing,” says Melissa Wright, Project Manager at Smithville.

COS Service Zones is a self-service tool for those planning to build a broadband network. By simply logging in to your cloud hosted installation you can draw neighborhood zones in your intended service area. Then you decide on a target take-rate for each and every neighborhood to reach to get the network built first to them. In addition to social media integrations, referral programs and other features to build local engagement COS Service Zones comes with extensive reporting functionality to easily provide accurate and timely data supporting decision making.

“It was extremely easy to get started using COS Service Zones. It’s a very good product and well framed for what it’s intended to do. And even for an off-the shelf product that is so quick to get working in, it has more flexibility than you might first think and the COS Support team has been great in helping us do those tweaks,” says Wright.

 

“I’m not the one working in the system, but I still log in every morning to check out the dashboard to see what progress we’ve had since the day before. I can, for example, quickly see if a marketing activity has had a good effect. Due to the high cost of building here in Indiana we have quite high take-rate targets for our neighborhoods and who knows, despite our efforts we might not get enough customers signed up to move into the residential market with fiber just yet. But knowing that might actually be the biggest values of using a platform like Service Zones. Imagine if we had spent all that money and built the network only to find out later that people didn’t want it. That would have been really expensive,” concludes Brodin.

 

“It is just great to get a customer like Smithville onboard. Since they knew what they were looking for and had a clear picture of how they wanted to run their demand aggregation campaign they were up and running in no time. Our platform is built so that you should be able to do most things by yourself, but of course it’s very pleasing to hear they like our support team. Now we are all crossing our fingers that there will be enough demand to start connecting the first residents, but as Mr. Brodin said – knowing that you don’t have enough demand yet might be an even greater value than knowing that you do. Coming from Sweden where we started deploying fiber a long time ago we’ve seen many projects fail due to lacking demand and it was actually to prevent that from happening in the future we developed COS Service Zones,” says COS Systems CMO Isak Finer.

About Smithville

Recognized nationally as a Top 100 broadband provider, Smithville Fiber is built from the ground up by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers. An award-winning communications technology company, Smithville had modest beginnings nearly a century ago. While its products and services have changed as technology has, its commitment to its customers has remained steadfast. Today, that commitment is reflected in Smithville’s dedication to bringing the best available technology platform to Indiana residents for state-of-the-art communication and data services, all with the highest possible level of customer satisfaction.

Smithville knows all about Indiana family businesses — because it is one. While the company has grown to be Indiana’s largest privately held telecommunications company, its core family-focused values make it unique. From its corporate headquarters near Bloomington, Smithville employs nearly 200 Hoosiers and invests in community projects, large and small, in its service areas.

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:

Melissa Patee
Project Manager
Smithville
+1 (812) 340-8622
Melissa.Patee@smithville.com
www.smithville.com

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

 Felipe Trevisan - Founder

Felipe Trevisan – Founder

Isak Finér and Peter Lidström - COS Systems

Isak Finér and Peter Lidström – COS Systems

Brazilian Open Access network operator Reabra will initially target residents in central Sao Paulo and neighboring cities Cotia and Rio das Pedras. The goal is to locate the neighborhoods showing most interest in high-speed Internet services in order to plan an optimal network build-out order following subscribers’ demand.

Sao Paulo, Brazil – Reabra is a fiber infrastructure provider offering Open Access Internet connections in Sao Paulo. Their vision is to offer high-speed Internet connections to residents, delivered over their open network infrastructure where multiple Service Providers will offer services to the subscribers. Using this approach, Reabra can focus on network expansion and efficient operations, while competition between the service providers will increase quality of service and drive price competition to the benefit of the residents. The services range from 100 MBps up to gigabit speeds without data caps or long-term contracts.

“As we expand our network it’s important for us to add many customers quickly. This is necessary for us to secure the network infrastructure investment, but also to attract service providers to deliver services on our network,” said Felipe Trevisan, Founder and CEO of Reabra. “With COS Service Zones we have a great platform to enable future subscribers to show their interest in our services, to spread the word in social media, and also become champions of their neighborhoods.”

“The obvious benefit of using COS Service Zones to signup customers before you build your network is that you can start building where you have the most subscribers and thus the most revenue. It makes a huge difference on the business side when your first deployed areas start generating cash flow from day one, providing stable funds for the subsequent build-out. But just as important is the ability to avoid those areas where take-rates are low. Imagine making your first investments in an area that doesn’t draw in any customers. Such a mistake could risk the future of the entire network buildout or even the company, since the bank or investors could lose their confidence in the project and the network itself is unprofitable,” said Isak Finér, Chief Marketing Officer at COS Systems.

The system is already beginning initial setup and soon residents in Sao Paulo can visit the Reabra’s COS Service Zones website to search for their address to see if they are in the targeted areas and show their interest in a faster fiber-optic Internet connection.

“We have customers across the globe in Europe, Africa, and North America. Reabra is our first customer in South America and an important milestone for our company. Our goal is to develop software solutions that allow our customers to make any necessary configurations and adjustments by themselves. This ease of use, along with our Cloud-hosted product suite means moving into new markets takes minimal effort. We are very happy to welcome Reabra to the COS family. We believe it will be a great beginning for more customers in South America,” said Peter Lidström, Chief Executive Officer at COS Systems.

About COS Service Zones
They used to say, “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, while using a powerful yet simple self-service interface. COS Systems takes customer needs and delivers innovative software solutions that streamline operations, accelerate revenue, and result in more satisfied subscribers. Learn more about COS Systems on www.cossystems.com.

About Reabra
REABRA provides Brazil’s best option to get connected to the Internet at gigabit speeds. With a fiber-optic based open network infrastructure, subscribers are able to choose high-speed services from multiple service providers. This competition between providers ensures high-quality services at competitive prices. While current Brazilian providers are increasingly implementing data caps for customers, Reabra is proud to offer services on their network with unlimited data traffic and no long-term commitments.

For additional information contact:
Isak Finér
Chief Marketing Officer
COS Systems AB
+46-737 51 99 38
isak.finer@www.cossystems.com
www.cossystems.com

Felipe Trevisan
Founder and CEO
Reabra
+55 (11) 96922-7667
felipe@reabra.com.br
www.reabra.com.br