The forward-looking city network manager

Think long-term

Affärsverken that operate the region's fiber network in Karlskrona have been engaged in technical development for almost 100 years and have a long history of innovation. Today, Affärsverken has a turnover of almost SEK 1 billion and about 230 employees.

Fredrik Nyman hands over the RELAY to Johan Ullström, team manager for technology at Affärsverken with the question:

Affärsverken's fiber expansion is a real success story and has been for several decades. What are the most important lessons and do you have any advice on the way to those who have not come as far?

Johan Ullström answers: Think long-term – that is my best advice

“For us, it is a crucial success factor that we have had a long-term perspective on broadband expansion from the very beginning. We strived early on to think all the way out to the end customer. As soon as it has been dug, we have been involved in laying empty ducts. Every time district heating has been deployed out, we have followed in with an empty duct in the property. If the property owners did not want fiber at the time, we will still be there.

Think long term! That's my best advice. It is not least a cost saving to do everything at one and the same time. The advantage for us is that we have everything in the same company - both district heating, electricity and city network. We do not charge the property owner a fee for connection until they want fiber. It is the same when digging in single housing and residential areas. There we have prepared so there is an empty duct outside each plot. We have thus secured an overcapacity in the ground, so we always have a free duct for future events. We have made a strategic choice to always be at the forefront and be aware of what is to come and adapt what we do today to tomorrow's requirements. That is also one of the reasons why we have Waystream's products and solutions. ”

Read how Affärsverken managed to get Europe's fastest open city network.

Karlskrona has Europe's fastest open city network What was it you saw early in the crystal ball?

“We have Waystream to thank too much and we have, among other things, been pioneers in new product series such as the access switches ASR 6000 and ASR 8000, where we got to be involved and have a say in the development process. Therefore, we have also received exactly the products we want since 2002. At the time Waystream was PacketFront, we carried out a test project with fiber connection to about 800 villas that received an offer to connect to fiber networks at a price of about 2,000 SEK . Then most homeowners thought it was unnecessary and we only got 80 customers. The test project turned out well and now there are probably many who regret that they did not agree to the initially low cost. We now have 32,000 customer connections (gates) in Karlskrona. If we add the neighboring municipalities of Torsås, Karlshamn and Ronneby, which we also operate, it gives a total of 55,000 connected customer connections. Demands for speed are constantly increasing as there is more and more traffic in the network. Now barely 100 M / Bit is enough. Today we have Europe's fastest open city network and offer 10 Gbit and I think that will be enough for a while. ”

What visions did you have for the network's services and content?

“In 2005, we made a strategic decision to replace all Cisco equipment and install Waystream's products instead. We have never regretted it. Waystream has been responsive and listened to our requests for products and software. The products have an incredibly good lifespan. We have changed extremely little due to something breaking, but most are because we wanted the latest products.

I see fast and reliable fiber connection is a success factor for the development in the Karlskrona region. To name one example, we ran a test project together with the County Council called "Nurse Gudrun" which contributed to safe care with video surveillance in the home. The purpose was to be able to care for the elderly who want to stay in their own home. A number of test users were set up. The user was given a camera connected to an IPTV box so that they could see a doctor on their TV at home. Now in Corona times, the possibility of such services is even more important because the care staff can refrain from going in to a patient if it is not needed. With stable equipment, you can read behavior patterns and act if, for example, a patient who usually drinks coffee at the same time every day suddenly deviates from the pattern. We have not been able to do that before. The technology provides unimaginable opportunities and we will be able to add new services continuously in our fast network. We now have a night camera in two places in live testing, but nothing that is full-scale operation yet.

What is the most significant thing that has happened in the last 20 years?

Johan Ullström thinks that the most significant thing that has happened during the industry's last 20 years is that equipment in general has become more compact and can do much more. Smaller space is required for server halls and equipment.

“An advantage for us is that Waystream has thought about the form factor so that products that can do more still have the same chassis format as the products we replace. The fact that we have been involved in influencing the products is of great importance and the collaboration has been fantastic. One of my foundest memories in the collaboration is that we had the honor of presenting our network at the FTTH trade fair in Valencia. We have always been listened to and we have come up with one or two wise ideas, concludes Johan Ullström. ”

Johan Ullström passes Stefetten on to Mikael Ek, the Swedish City Network Association, with the question:

Why is open networks so important? What can other countries learn from Sweden?


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# Waystream # FTTH # Broadband # Internet Foundation # The Relay