Norlys connects Denmark

Thomas Rasmussen explains how Norlys partnered with Cisco CX Services to build and expand the national network infrastructure of Denmark.

Story highlights

  • Expanded network while ensuring reliability and quality
  • Performed security upgrades with minimal service interruption
  • Achieved less than a minute of downtime per customer per year


The story

Thomas Rasmussen is the Director of Network Capacity and Planning at Norlys. He is responsible for ensuring the network is always on and available, with a goal of less than a minute of downtime per customer per year. He discusses how Norlys engaged with Cisco Services to build and expand the national network infrastructure for Denmark, and how Norlys and Cisco are working together to further expand the Norlys national infrastructure into a sustainable network.

Norlys is a giant cooperative with a history of more than 100 years. We are on a journey to bring high-speed and high-quality internet across Denmark, including rural farms and villages. We have given more than 800,000 addresses access to fiber and have more than 1.7 million customer relationships within the entire Norlys Group, making us the largest integrated telco and energy co-op in Denmark.

We believe it is our responsibility to make sure all Danes have access to high-speed internet. Our goal is to become a national player within a few years.

Cisco has been with us since the beginning of our fiber journey, and most of our network infrastructure runs on Cisco technology. In the service provider space, scaling the network is the one crucial area where you can really shine or really falter.

We partnered with Cisco CX to gain expertise on how to expand the network efficiently and securely, while also scaling our business.

Leading the fiber movement in Denmark

Today, Denmark’s energy sector is primarily driven by the logistics of the fiber business and consolidating it within the country; but it hasn’t always been this way. We began our fiber journey almost 20 years ago, in 2004, before fiber was commonly used throughout the country.

In the past, there was only one network (DSL) that was owned by a monopoly throughout Denmark. The energy sector, and Norlys, challenged this, leading to the expansion of fiber to our consumers. We make fiber accessible to service providers throughout the country via our wholesale platform, meaning that customers can pick and choose between 12 different content providers

At the beginning of our fiber journey, fiber was quite expensive. Fiber to the home was not really considered a possibility within Denmark. Challenges included getting community acceptance and making sure that we could sustain the business of fiber in Denmark while providing high-speed quality internet.

As we progressed, fiber became more common. And now we are proud to be at the forefront of the movement.

When I joined the team in 2017, Norlys was working on consolidating around 2 to 4 fragmented networks into one. As you could imagine, this was a huge undertaking. And at the time, there was no real roadmap for us to follow. The Cisco Services team was essential to helping advise and guide this process. They have been a partner to us as we’ve evolved throughout the process and moved forward on our fiber journey.

Less than a minute of downtime per customer per year

We also work with Cisco CX Services to limit downtime and outages for our customers. Updating the software and security on our equipment is very important, but updating equipment can also entail many pitfalls that we need to be aware of.

For example, we need to understand aspects such as which software is not compatible with the hardware or service. Previously, we didn’t have the manpower and resources to do this as effectively. An engineer needed to monitor these manually themselves, sometimes leading to power outages that could have been avoided.

We rely on the Cisco Services team to support planning, testing, and patching to ensure we are operating most efficiently with fewer errors. 

-Thomas Rasmussen, Director of Network Capacity and Planning Norlys

We rely on the Cisco Services team to support planning, testing, and patching to ensure we are operating most efficiently and with fewer errors. With the help of Cisco CX, we can conduct collaborative tests on our services to make sure that we can perform patches and security upgrades without interruptions.

As a service provider running a huge, robust network and providing services to critical infrastructure throughout the country, security is a huge priority for us. We work very closely with the team to understand any security risks and how best to avoid these pitfalls. We partner with the CX team to do a pre-screening of the software we are about to implement to be sure that we have a solution for all the potential issues.

High-speed internet is a fundamental need in today's society. Every outage is critical. So, when working to expand fiber coverage throughout the country, we needed to take measures to alleviate outages as much as possible. As a result, when we perform a software upgrade, our downtime is drastically minimized with less impact on our end customer. We have consistently succeeded in our goal of having less than a minute per customer of downtime per year.


Internet for even more Danes

The Cisco Services team truly understands the business of Norlys and what we want to achieve. We view them as an extension of our own team.

With the complexities and nuances of technology evolving every day, we can rely on them to make sure our code is running smoothly and validate information in our labs, helping us avoid outages and save on manpower. Their expert knowledge has been invaluable to our success.

Looking to the future, we will continue to scale our network with a goal of providing high-speed, quality, and stable internet to even more Danes.

In addition to producing the most stable infrastructure we can, we’re continuously looking for ways to be the most energy-efficient. We are looking forward to a continued partnership with Cisco CX to help us achieve this.

Industry: Service Provider

Company size: 2,800 employees

Location: Denmark

Cisco solutions used