Open municipal optical fiber networks, I like them

Jämtkraft Stadsnät

In Sweden many municipal owned power companies have been very active in building open optical fiber networks a long side their district heating systems, power lines etc.

Our local power company Jämtkraft is one of them. I worked for Jämtkraft before I went to universitet, it’s a good company. They have hydro power plants, district heating system, a really good optical fiber network and are now building a infrastructure for electric cars. To top it of they have one of the lowest prices on electricity in Sweden, and make a nice profit.

I recently moved to a house that is connected to Jämtkraft Stadsnät (Jamtkraft City-net). Since it’s a open network customers can choose from a number of Internet, VOIP and IPTV providers. The public sector build the road and the private sector can then compete on equal terms on it.

I opted for a 50/50 Mbit/s connection via Bredband2. Measuring it via Bredbandskollen gives 50/70 Mbit/s. For this I pay 350 SEK per month (€38/$53 at the moment). I’m more than satisfied!

This is in a small town with a population of 2000 in Jämtland, Sweden. The population density is 2,6/km². If it can be economically viable to pull optical fiber here it should be a snap in most other places.

This shows what can be done with some good political decisions paired with an healthy competition in the private sector.

According to PTS - Bredbandskartläggning 2009 - PTS-ER-2010:5 (Summary in English) a little over 10 procent of households in Sweden now have an optical fiber connection. I believe a majority of this is municipal networks.