Description / Explanation
Marttila is a small village-like neighbourhood in the Helsinki metropolitan area where war veterans and invalids built their homes (on city-owned land) in the late 1940s. As the building density is low, private telecom operators were not interested in bringing in fibre technology. As public support was given only to rural areas, the residents established a cooperative to build their own high-capacity network with 4 fibres to every connected home. This network will allow broad competition and ensure that future demands for speed or connectivity in the future will not be a problem. All planning and much of the work has been done by the cooperative members who continue to own and manage the network. Most major Finnish telecom operators are now linked to the Marttila network and compete to offer their services.
22/03/2014 to 18/02/2015
Project submitted by
Osuuskunta Helsingin Valokuidut
Chairman of the Board
Infrastructure & Service
Infrastructure, technology and architecture
The implementation is based on FTTH technology. The cooperative owns and administers the network, engaging a local contractor. The network's central point (POP) is also owned and managed by the cooperative. Before the fibre project was concluded, most connection speeds on ADSL were around 10-14Mbit/s download and as low as 0.5Mbit/s upload. There were frequent disturbances and breaks in connections. Latency was about 25-30ms. Through the fibre network, available speeds are: 10/10, 50/50, 100/100, 200/200Mbit/s and 1/1Gbit/s. By switching the terminals, the speed can be increased even to 10 or 40 Gbit/s. Quality is superb with no jitter and latency between 1-2 ms.
Cost structure and financing sources
The end users in the Marttila Village, all of whom are members of the cooperative, have financed and continue to finance the project. No outside public or private financing has been received. Voluntary work by cooperative members has contributed substantially to all stages of the project. Board members and other office holders do not receive any compensation. The cooperative is a not-for-profit entity and possible surplus will be returned to the members. Only a reasonable buffer capital is collected, allowing the cooperative to handle tasks such as network management, expansion needs, initiation of additional services - such as cable television through a cooperative-owned central antenna - and unexpected events. All budgetary decision are made by annual members' meetings. No particular financing arrangements have been agreed with banks or other institutions.
Actors involved and their roles
The main actor was the residents' cooperative "Osuuskunta Helsingin Valokuidut". At various stages both national and municipal authorities were involved and consulted, and granted the necessary authorisations. Of the telecom operators Telia-Sonera (now Telia) joined the project in an advisory role. The land construction work and physical building of the network was to major parts outsourced to commercial enterprises Telog and Oteran, but much was also done by the cooperative members and village residents themselves, on a voluntary basis. All stages of work were coordinated and supervised by the cooperative itself.
The project has been completed entirely by the participating Marttila residents through a cooperative created by them for this purpose. In Finland, the project is the first of its kind in an urban area, and also technically it has been a forerunner. Usually these networks have been and are built by individual telecom operators on a commercial basis, and tend to offer a more limited or even no choice for other selections. The cooperative approach and the location in an outlying but still urban area has lead to no public contribution being applied for, nor was any such contribution received - neither from the European Union nor from the Finnish government or municipal authorities. 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. With its 4 fibres connecting every participating household, the network has an extremely high capacity which should fill all foreseeable needs far into the future. Operators are offering their services on a competitive basis and their networks are connected to the cooperative, based on a mutual agreement and governed by a contract. In addition to reaching its technical aims, the cooperative effort has brought the people of the Marttila Village in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki together in a way which has encouraged also other joint activities and added substantially to the ambience and environment. As the village population experiences a continuous generation change and now has a very diverse age structure, this has been especially important.
community broadband model
Through retaining the ownership and management of the 4-fibre network connecting over 100 homes, the cooperative is able to offer the services of most major Finnish telecom operators. This includes internet connections from 50 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s, and eventually more. 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. Many users work completely or partially from their homes and the network enables also then sufficiently reliable and fast connections. The cooperative has foreseen the enlargement of the network to both residential and municipal users through connection-ready cabling that extend to properties not yet connected. Feedback from the network users has been very positive and property agencies have assessed that the values of networked residences have risen.
Technical potential for expansion, future proof infrastructure
Today's connection speeds can range up to 1/1 Gbit/s and can be even higher, depending on the service providers. The cooperative itself handles all network maintenance, outsourcing most functions to a private small enterprise based in the village itself. Extremely short intervention times are thus reached with important support functions included in the service. Board members participate in maintenance and other activities on a voluntary and non-compensated basis. The cooperative has discussed with the competent municipal authorities about connecting local institutions, including a primary school, a library, a youth centre and a day care facility. They can join the network at short notice, as soon as the city has resolved any existing contract issues with their service providers who could then upgrade their services to a more reliable high-capacity network.