Connecting rural Iceland using Comsof Fiber

In brief

  • In Iceland, the government is running a comprehensive funding program to allow rural communities to achieve close to 100% FTTH coverage for domestic households, businesses, schools, community centers etc
  • Communities need to apply for a grant and typically hire a consultancy firm to assist them
  • One of the most successful of these firms is Lysir, a subsidiary of Rafal Iceland. It uses Comsof Fiber Designer to plan and design the communal FTTH networks

The challenge

“Our focus is to estimate costs. We help communities apply for a grant to fund FTTH deployment in their area”, explains Guðmundur Gunnarsson, Managing Director at Lysir. “This is important because deployment cost per household is a prime criterion for the government to approve funding, together with compliance with certain conditions. That’s why we need a reliable estimate of the deployment costs and be able to cost-optimize the design.”

“Another challenge is design flexibility. Once funding for a project is approved, businesses and home owners in the same community can join the project at their own expense. We need to adapt the design for this. The next step is to prepare the RFQs to hire contractors for various parts of the projects.”

The solution

“When I took on this job I had almost no experience with FTTH planning and design, although I had been designing other types of networks before. My approach was based on common sense and I followed the guidelines published by the EU FTTH Council. I did some web research and found a few software solutions. Comsof Fiber was the most convincing. It was impressive to see how fast it calculates an entire network, much faster than any other solution.”

“Mister Gunnarsson was very committed and willing to work with us”, explains Comsof’s Lead Consultant Gustav Janssens. “He didn’t have that much experience with fiber network planning, but as the software is easy to use, this wasn’t an issue. With our assistance, he was able to set up his design rules according to the situation in Iceland.”

“The rules were very particular. For example, even though most areas are quite rural, there was no aerial option. And remote houses, like summer retreats, could to opt in. So it was vital for him to be in charge of the architecture and make these changes himself.”

“Comsof Fiber gives us a significant advantage over our competitors. They all still design their networks manually.”

Guðmundur Gunnarsson
Managing Director at Lysir, a subsidiary of the Icelandic company Rafal

The results

Building a strong business case

“The concise preliminary design and reliable cost estimation we make in Comsof Fiber provides us with a strong business case. This allows us to justify the funding request. Since the start of the project in 2016, we’ve submitted five applications and three of them were approved. This is remarkable, since only 13 of the 36 applications submitted in 2017 gained approval. These three networks will be fully operational in 2018.”

An updated design within minutes

“We save a lot of time at the network design process. Anyone who sees what we’re doing is quite impressed. We can update the design whenever we have new customers joining. It’s just a matter of loading the relevant streets and buildings and pushing a button. Within minutes we have an updated cost estimate. Comsof Fiber also produces an accurate Bill of Materials, which is very helpful when we prepare the RFQs. This gives us a significant advantage over our competitors, who are still designing their networks manually.”

Thorough preparation

“We highly appreciated Comsof’s consultancy at the beginning of the project. Also the software’s video documentation and user manual where very helpful.”