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 along 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 university, 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.