“The Helsinki Optical Fibre Cooperative” from Finland is one of the five winners of the European Broadband Awards 2017. The residents of Marttila in the Helsinki metropolitan area established a cooperative and have built their own high-capacity network. The cooperative members financed and planned the project themselves. Also much of the works has been done by members themselves, who continue to own and manage the network. The project resulted in 96% coverage and 70% penetration.

Illustration of the The Helsinki Optical Fibre Cooperative, Finland

Management and services are handled locally by a cooperative of citizens.

4 fibres to every home: local cooperative builds and manages own high-speed network

“The Helsinki Optical Fibre Cooperative” is the winner in the Category 5: “Openness and competition”. Marttila is a small village-like neighbourhood in the Helsinki metropolitan area where war veterans and disabled people built their modest homes (on city owned land) in the late 1940s. As the building density is low, private telecom operators were not interested in bringing fibre technology. Therefore the residents established a cooperative to build their own high-capacity network where 4 fibres to every connected home allow for broad competition and meet future communications needs.

The cooperative members financed the project themselves with EUR 170.000. There was no other private or public funding: there has been no outside financing by any telecom operator or other private company or individual except the substantial unpaid work done by cooperative members.

What was achieved?

All planning and much of the physical work has been done by cooperative members themselves who continue to own and manage the network. The project resulted in 96% coverage and 70% penetration. Most major Finnish telecom operators are now linked to the Marttila network and compete through offering their services. Through retaining the ownership and management of network connecting over 100 homes the cooperative is able to offer services of the major Finnish telecom operators. This includes internet connections from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps, and eventually higher. Management and services are handled locally by the cooperative itself and is thus close and familiar for the users, reacting rapidly and flexibly to any needs. The available speeds are up to 1/1 Gbps. By switching the terminals, the speed can be increased to even 10 or 40 Gbps.

Operators are offering their services on a competitive basis and their networks are connected to the cooperative, based on mutual agreements and governed by contracts. The companies involved conclude their own service contracts with the end users. In Finland, the project is the first of its kind in an urban area, and also technically it has been a forerunner.

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