Viken Fiber is Norway’s largest fibre company, building and operating fibre glass networks and providing broadband services, in cooperation with Altibox, across wide areas of eastern Norway. Based in Drammen, the capital of the county of Buskerud, the most populated part of Norway, the company has been building fibre networks since 2005.
“Already in 2004 we had the idea to develop the digital infrastructure and provide households and businesses with high-capacity, broadband network access points,” says CEO Anne Berit Rørlien. “Our focus was on being a challenger in the telecommunications market. For this purpose, we started a pilot project in a limited region around Oslo and equipped 500 households with fibre connections. The pilot was highly successful, despite the high costs for the cabling. Many market participants did not believe in the project, but we demonstrated that the future lies in fibre networks and that a significant return on investment is possible within a very reasonable time.”
After the successful pilot, Viken Fiber rolled out its fibre network initiative further and went from door to door. Soon, the company was able to win 20,000 fibre clients. “In 2013, five companies from the sector merged and created today’s Viken Fiber,” explains Ms. Rørlien.
Viken Fiber is owned by four utility companies – Lyse Fiberinvest, Glitre Energi, Lier Everk Holding and Hadeland Energi – and has branch offices in Oslo, Porsgrunn, Grålum and Hønefoss. “We are still a regional player concentrating on the eastern parts of Norway,” states Ms. Rørlien.
Viken Fiber currently delivers broadband services for the Internet, television and telephone to more than 180,000 customers in over 70 municipalities. The company employs 110 people and has annual revenues of 1.5 billion NOK, or approximately 146 million EUR. Viken Fiber specializes in Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) connections and manages the laying of the fibre-optic cables in every region the company is developing.
We are contributing to the modernization of Norway. Anne Berit RørlienCEO
“The laying is very cost-intensive,” explains Ms. Rørlien. “Therefore, the rate of new subscribers has to be at least 50% in a defined area to make the investment pay off. Today, the connection rate is usually much higher, though, between 62 and 74%.”
To this date, Viken Fiber has laid over 5,000 km of fibre-optic cables, which is about twice the length of Norway from top to bottom. Viken Fiber plans every new cable laying project and for the actual digging and laying the company works together with experienced, reliable subcontractors.
As the fibre glass pioneer and market challenger, Viken Fiber is competing with the traditional broadband providers in Norway.
“As the building of a fibre network is very costly, the established providers had no interest in entering this market segment,” states Ms. Rørlien. “This way, we have developed into the fibre leader in Norway. There are other companies like us in the country. But the second-largest has only about 80,000 subscribers. So we are the undisputed number 1. We strongly believe in fibre as the future of broadband network infrastructure and have found a way to make it a profitable technology in spite of high investment costs. This applies to urban areas with its many concrete areas, which make cable laying expensive, and for rural areas with their often very long distances. But we are convinced of our concept and willingly accept the challenge. And we have very efficient processes and in-depth expertise. Our success and reliable work speak in favour of us.”
Another strong point of Viken Fiber is its tried-and-tested partnership with the content provider Altibox. “For the tenth time in a row, we have been jointly elected Norway’s best network provider,” says Ms. Rørlien. Viken Fiber won first place in the coveted Customer Satisfaction Award rating organized by EPSI Norway, a European leader in stakeholder management and benchmarking.
Besides supporting data-intensive broadband applications, including the Internet of Things, Viken Fiber is enabling future-oriented concepts like smart cities, integrating high-speed mobile broadband technologies. “We also plan to engage more in data centers and connect them to our high-speed fibre networks,” explains Ms. Rørlien. “In addition, we want to participate in the building of the modern 5G mobile telecommunications network, which is also based on fibre infrastructure, and expand geographically and acquire additional subscribers beyond eastern Norway. There is a lot of potential. The market is far from being saturated, and with our technology, we are making a contribution to the modernization of Norway.”