Description / Explanation

The municipality De Wolden has about 10 000 homes spread over an area of about 227 square kilometres – an area considered unprofitable by commercial actors. A bottom up, community driven, for-the-people-by-the-people style initiative built an own super-fast fibre optic network, connecting every single home and company in the municipality. Through a combination of market financing and governmental financing, this project secured the EUR 16 million needed to build the infrastructure. It is an example of a model, where private companies, energy companies and municipalities work together, demonstrating affordability of consumer prices and profitability for operators which attracted follow-up investments in the upper layer (services).

Project submitted by

Name
Floris van Lint
Organisation
Glasvezel De Wolden
Function
Communications
Phone
+31628406316

Infrastructure & Service

Speed / performance
≥100 Mbps
Infrastructure, technology and architecture
All fibre connections have a data rate of at least 100 Mbit, up to 10 Gigabit. The Gigabit rates have a latency of 2ms or less. Actual speeds average 950 Mbit up and down. Jitter is 1 ms or less.

Financing

Cost structure and financing sources
Public actors participated in the form of the local municipal government of De Wolden and the provincial government of Drenthe. Foundation Glasvezel De Wolden worked together with local energy infrastructure company Rendo to build a financially viable business model. The model used is loosely comparable to the Community Broadband model. The foundation Glasvezel De Wolden represents the inhabitants of De Wolden and is actually still comprised of people that have been active as volunteers in the initiative from the start. The ownership of the network is divided as follows: 20% foundation Glasvezel De Wolden, 40% local municipal government De Wolden and 40% local energy infrastructure company Rendo.
Control is not connected to ownership. Instead, in order to keep the final form of the fibre network as close to the original initiative in intention as possible, control has mostly been given to the inhabitants of the municipality. The control division is as follows: 20% local municipal government De Wolden, 20% local energy infrastructure company Rendo and 60% foundation Glasvezel De Wolden. This is meant to ensure long term thinking and considerations favouring the local inhabitants and local economy first and foremost.

Scalability

Actors involved and their roles
- People living in the municipality De Wolden, household users and business users
- Local community 'Glasvezel De Wolden', a group of volunteers wanting to bring fast, affordable internet connections to the municipality De Wolden
- Local municipal government (gemeente De Wolden)
- Provincial government (Provincie Drenthe)
- Local energy infrastructure company (Rendo)
Success factors
The main success factor is attributed to the fact that the initiative was, and still is, composed of people living in the municipality themselves. There is no drive for profit, the initiative 'just' wants fibre to become available for everyone in the municipality at affordable rates. Some things that make the initiative fairly unique are:
- The 'by the people, for the people' style initiative
- The high ambitions, such as being able to offer 10 gigabit internet speeds and having multiple national ISPs on the network. Both these ambitions were achieved
- The professional character of the initiative, several professionals living in the municipality offered their services as volunteers until the initiative became 'something' serious
- The immense support from the local populace in the municipality
Business model
community broadband model

Project review

Results
- Securing EUR 16 million to build a municipal fibre network, connecting every single object in the municipality
- The economy, social position, education, healthcare and general society is expected to benefit enormously from the fibre network, as houses are not expensive relative to the rest of the Netherlands and the communications infrastructure will be among the very best in Europe when finished

Further information