In 2021, Energi Fyn opened their fiber network, allowing third-party ISPs to offer internet services on their infrastructure. Since then, Energi Fyn has experienced a significant increase in take-up rate. In this article, Bo Brøndsted-Jensen, Operations Manager at Energi Fyn, shares his experiences about opening the network.
Energi Fyn is a Danish energy company offering both electricity, natural gas, and fiber-optic broadband on Funen. Energi Fyn’s FTTH business consists of two units: A Network and Service provider business. The company has a declared strategy to ensure that as many people and businesses as possible on Funen are connected to fiber.
“– It was obvious that the intake of homes connected we experienced in the period after we opened our network was from end-users, who would probably otherwise not have been connected. We offer a premium Wi-Fi service, and we want to make room for fiber customers who have other preferences. By opening our network, we made this possible.” – Bo Brøndsted-Jensen, Operations Manager, Energi Fyn
– We want to make it attractive to live and do business on Funen, and fiber expansion is a natural part of this, because fiber is key in ensuring optimal Wi-Fi experiences now and in the future, says Bo Brøndsted-Jensen, Operations Manager at Energi Fyn.
Pursuing this strategy is based on a leading principle of more sustainable use of resources from both a business as well as an environmental perspective. Energi Fyn therefore stays away from overbuilding in areas where cables have already been laid in the ground, and in general Energi Fyn has a strategic focus on optimizing deployment of the existing fiber infrastructure. As Bo Brøndsted-Jensen says:
– To us, it makes no sense not deploying our underground fiber cables. As a network operator, our strategic focus is to bring fiber to as many people as possible, even if this means allowing our customers to get internet from other service providers. Fundamentally, what’s most important to us is that the fiber infrastructure is utilized so that more people get their internet through fiber.
This was a key driver for the network operator’s decision to open the infrastructure, allowing third-party ISPs to offer internet services on their fiber network. Since then, more than ten ISPs have gained access step-by-step, and today both the biggest national internet service providers as well as many smaller providers offer internet services on Energi Fyn’s infrastructure. And more will be added during 2023.
Significant increase in take up-rate
Bo Brøndsted-Jensen points out that the decision to open the network was not without some concern for how their existing service provider customers would react:
– Of course, we were a little worried that our existing service provider customers would shift to another third-party ISPs, but generally we believe there is room for everybody. And it turned out that existing customers did not leave, which I fundamentally attribute to the fact that our service provider customers are satisfied especially with our Wi-Fi services.
Instead, Energi Fyn experienced a remarkable increase in take-up rate. Bo Brøndsted-Jensen ascribes this to the freedom of choice for end-customers in an open network market:
– It was obvious that the intake of homes connected we experienced in the period after we opened our network was from end-users, who would probably otherwise not have been connected. We offer a premium Wi-Fi service, and we want to make room for fiber customers who have other preferences. By opening our network, we made this possible.
Bring on the healthy competition
Besides the increased take-up rate, the open infrastructure has forced Energi Fyn to look inside their own business to make sure they stay relevant in the market:
– When you allow other internet service providers to offer their services on your network, clearly, you’re exposing your own business to competition, but the way we look at it, it’s a way of constantly improving our own services. The infrastructure is ours, but as an ISP we’re competing on equal terms with other providers, says Bo Brøndsted-Jensen.
He stresses that overall, the increased competition and the separation of the Network and Service provider business has provided insight into how Energi Fyn can make both businesses more competitive and profitable.
A future-proof CPE solution
For now, Energi Fyn’s CPE solution includes a one-box solution from Icotera, with fiber termination and router in the same box. When a customer chooses to buy internet services from a third-party ISP, Energi Fyn deactivates the router technology in the box.
To further leverage the benefits of open access fiber network, Energi Fyn will in the future be looking to change to a two-box solution with fiber termination and router are separated.
– Right now, our solution doesn’t exploit the full capability of our equipment in households that buy internet services from other providers. This is costly in the long run, and it doesn’t fit in with our principle of utilizing resources optimally. That’s why a natural next step for us is to look into separating the technologies, Bo Brøndsted-Jensen says.
In his opinion, separating the technologies will become extremely relevant in the future, as new Wi-Fi standards regularly are being launched and the need for complex technology increases:
- It’s the Wi-Fi needs that set the standards and delivering optimal Wi-Fi service will continue to require ever more complex technology. The internet service provider holds responsibility for this, and with two-box scenarios, the division of responsibility becomes very clear, he ends.
WANT TO KNOW MORE about how open access fiber network open new business possibilities and whether a one-box or a two-box solution is the best choice?
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