Fiber Internet

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What is Fiber Internet?

Fiber-optic internet is high-speed broadband internet that comes to your home via fiber optic cables. Fiber-optic cables are made up of many strands of very thin glass or plastic fibers through which beams of light encoded with data are sent. The fiber optic strands are usually about the thickness of a strand of human hair and are much less expensive (and much lighter) than the copper or coaxial cables that have been used in past networks. Both cable companies and telecommunications companies have been using fiber-optic cable when they build new internet infrastructure to service new areas or to upgrade existing broadband networks. Believe it or not, most internet access runs across fiber optic cables somewhere along the line. For example, you might get fiber cable to the pole at your street, and then copper cable that connects from the pole to your home. Or there might be fiber cable all the way to the premises, but then an ethernet cable or a coaxial cable coming the rest of the way into your apartment building. Even wireless internet providers are generally using fiber optic lines somewhere in their backhaul, like the cables that bring the internet to their antennas. Many internet service providers are replacing copper wire connections with fiber optic cable for their high-speed internet and data services to create more network capacity to satisfy the ever-increasing amount of online content and subscribers.

How Fiber Internet Works:

To use fiber optic cables for internet access, data is coded into a beam of light and then it is directed down a very thin strand of plastic or glass fiber. This is done with either a laser or an LED. The light containing the data travels down the fiber with the light bouncing off the sides of the fiber until it goes out the other end. There is a photoelectric device often called an optical network terminal (ONT) at each end that decodes the light back into data that machines, like computers, tablets, and other connected devices can understand. These strands of fiber can carry thousands of different data streams at the same time. The encoded light can travel through the fiber optic strand at speeds of more than 100,000 miles per second. Currently, there are about 450 submerged fiber-optic cables buried in the Earth’s ocean floor. All-together there are about 700,000 miles of cable being used for internet connection across the planet. Companies are continually building out the fiber-optic network connecting us all. Since fiber optic is made from plastic or glass strands it is not susceptible to magnetic interference and doesn’t heat up. It is also much harder to eavesdrop, making fiber networks arguably more secure than shared networks like cable internet. The fibers are surrounded by “cladding” which bounces the light inward and keeps it on track. The fibers can be braided together or just left as a single strand.

Quick Guide to Common Fiber Internet Network Types:

This guide lets you compare the most common types of FTTx networks and terminology:

FTTP - Fiber-to-the-premises refers to a fiber optic cable connected directly from a fiber providers central office to a home or apartment building. FTTP is commonly used as an all-inclusive term when referring to either FTTH and FTTB services in the fiber optic network architecture family.
FTTH - Fiber-to-the-home is an abbreviation referring to a direct fiber optic cable connecting the subscribers home to the fiber internet providers central office.
FTTB - Fiber-to-the-building refers to a fiber optic internet connection that terminates inside the subscribers building, but the final cable connecting the apartment or townhome is provided by alternate means; usually via existing in-building copper phone or coaxial cabling.
FTTdp - Fiber-to-the-distribution-point refers to fiber optic cable being terminated in a junction box within a few hundred feet of a subscriber's home or apartment building. The short distance from the junction box to the subscriber typically is a traditional copper wire connection, such as DSL. While FTTdp uses more traditional copper wiring for the final connection at the customer's location a short distance away, subscribers are often able to still experience near gigabit connection speeds over this hybrid type of fiber-copper connection.
FTTC - Fiber-to-the-curb or fiber-to-the-cabinet is similar to FTTdp, but in this case, the street closet or pole cabinet housing the fiber equipment is usually farther away than FTTdp, but still within a few thousand feet of the subscriber's premises. Due to the close proximity of the fiber termination, the final connection to the customer's location can be anything from copper ethernet to WiFi technology.
FTTN - fiber-to-the-node or fiber-to-the-neighborhood refers to fiber optic cables that terminate in a street cabinet often miles away from the subscriber's location. The last portion of cabling connecting the subscriber's premise and the cabinet is typically twisted pair telephone wires or coax. FTTN connections are slower than other types of fiber connectivity, due to the distance the signal has to travel over the last few miles of copper cables to reach the end user.

How Fast is Fiber Internet?

Fiber provides the fastest internet available right now, faster than cable, satellite, DSL, wireless, and of course dial-up internet. If you're getting fiber all the way to your house, called fiber to the premises, or fiber to the home, you might be getting internet speeds as fast as 2 Gbps (2000 Mbps) or even faster in a few limited areas with gigabit fiber. That is a pretty fast internet speed for residential broadband. Getting internet through a fiber optic service is a great way to make sure you don’t get hit with a lag or slow down when you are gaming online or surfing the net. When you get a fiber optic connection, often your internet plan will have what is called symmetrical speed which is the same download speed as upload speed.

Fiber Internet Download Speed Examples:

Example Media & File Sizes
10 Mbps
50 Mbps
100 Mbps
500 Mbps
1000 Mbps (1 Gigabit)
4 Minute Song - 4 MB
3 Seconds
0.6 Seconds
0.3 Seconds
0.1 Seconds
0.05 Seconds
5 Minute Video - 30 MB
30 Seconds
5 Seconds
3 Seconds
0.5 Seconds
0.05 Seconds
9 Hour Audio Book - 110 MB
90 Seconds
20 Seconds
10 Seconds
2 Seconds
1 Second
45 Minute TV Show - 200 MB
3 Minutes
30 Seconds
15 Seconds
4 Seconds
2 Seconds
45 Minute HD TV Show - 600 MB
9 Minutes
2 Minutes
1 Minute
10 Seconds
5 Seconds
2 Hour Movie - 1.5 GB
21 Minutes
4 Minutes
2 Minutes
20 Seconds
8 Seconds
2 Hour HD Movie - 4 GB
1 Hour
12 Minutes
5 Minutes
1 Minute
25 Seconds

Quick Guide to Fiber Internet VS. Other Types of Internet Service:

This guide lets you compare fiber internet versus other types of broadband internet service. Figuring out which service is faster, or "better" depends on the type of service being considered, as well as the company offering the service. Different companies offering the same type of service (DSL, cable, fiber, satellite, etc.) can vary wildly in speed and reliability. Keep this in mind when considering which internet service is best for your household as it's not just the technology type that's important when choosing which internet connection is right for you. This fiber internet comparison guide is based on the technology behind the type of internet service being compared, not individual providers offering fiber internet service.

Fiber Optic Internet VS. Other types of Internet service
Fiber Internet VS. Cable Internet - Fiber wins over cable because fiber optic internet is a dedicated connection, unlike cable internet, which uses a shared connection. Fiber also beats cable when it comes to its faster upload speeds, similar pricing, and better reliability during power outages or bad weather events.
Fiber Internet VS. DSL Internet - Fiber internet wins due to faster connections speeds, and because fiber doesn't usually require a telephone line for service like DSL.
Fiber Internet VS. Mobile Internet - Fiber internet beats mobile internet hands down. While monthly prices for the services can be similar, there are data caps as well as much slower speeds on most mobile internet plans.
Fiber Internet VS. Satellite Internet - Fiber internet is faster, more reliable, and often cheaper than satellite internet service, making fiber optic the clear winner here.
Fiber Internet VS. Wireless Internet - Fiber internet again wins this comparison. While wireless can be quite fast, it just can't compete with the reliability and top end speeds offered by fiber internet.

Fiber Internet Pros & Cons:

Fiber Optic Internet Advantages and Disadvantages

Fiber Internet Pros

Fiber Internet Cons

+ Fiber internet is the fastest broadband option available to households.
Fiber internet service is not yet widely available outside of large cities and population dense areas.
+ Fiber networks are mostly a passive communications system, meaning that during power outages fiber is more reliable than other types of communications networks that require power to operate.
Dedicated fiber internet installations require a new fiber optic cable to be installed at your premises. This can sometimes take weeks or even months to complete before service can be activated.
+ Fiber internet speeds offer more bandwidth capacity and future scalability than any other broadband type. This makes fiber the perfect option for households that want the most technologically advanced online internet experience.
Initial fiber internet installation and equipment costs are often more expensive than other forms of internet service.
+ Fiber internet provides a direct connection to the internet, which makes your connection generally more secure than other broadband service types.
In some areas the monthly cost of fiber internet is still quite expensive, making it uneconomical for some budget conscience households.

Fiber Internet Service Requirements:

No matter which provider you get your fiber internet connection from, you'll need a compatible modem/router. Often, this equipment is supplied by the fiber-optic internet service provider. Equipment requirements aren't all the same when it comes to fiber internet. For example, your local cable company may offer a fiber internet connection to the curb or pole outside your house, and use a cable modem as the premise equipment. The equipment the cable company supplies to your home would be a DOCSIS modem/router, 3.0 or higher because the last leg of the network from the node to your home would be coaxial cabling. If your fiber optic internet connection comes from a telephone company you'll need a specific router that conforms to their requirements. This could be an ONT or a DSL modem, depending on the type of fiber network being operated by the phone company. You'll also want to ensure your wifi router is newer and has up-to-date software. Since fiber optic internet provides the fastest connection you don't want it to be slowed down due to out-dated software or equipment.

Fiber Internet Questions & Answers:

Answer: - To find out where fiber optic internet is available, simply use the internetbyzip search tool on this site to search our database of local fiber providers. Keep in mind that fiber internet isn't yet widely available because it's a newer type of network technology. If you are unable to locate a fiber optic company in your area, try expanding your search to include other types of internet service providers.
Answer: - What subscribers pay for fiber internet can vary wildly, anywhere from $40-$300 per month. The cost of fiber optic internet per month varies based on your geographical location, how many competitor internet providers are in your area, and which speed you choose when you order fiber internet service.
Answer: - Figuring out what speed of fiber internet service is right for your household depends on how many people will be connecting to the service, as well as what applications and uses you typically perform when connected to the internet. If you have multiple users streaming videos and gaming, then you would need a faster speed to accommodate that sort of bandwidth use versus a household that simply uses the internet to read email or social media.
Answer: - In some areas, fiber optic internet is already available at speeds up to 2Gbps. Fiber internet speeds and network types (FTTN, FTTC, FTTH, etc.) vary based on the technology and infrastructure being used by each individual fiber provider. First, find out what fiber company is offering service in your area, then you can find out what type of fiber optic internet network they operate, as well as what speeds are available.

Fiber Companies Providing High-Speed Internet:

3 Rivers Communications
702 Communications
Access Cable Television, Inc.
ACS Communications
Adams Cable Service
Adams Telephone Co-Operative
AdamsWells Telecom
AG Communications
Albany Mutual Telephone Association
Albion Telephone Company, Inc.
Algona Municipal Utilities
All West Communications, Inc.
Allband Communications Cooperative
Amherst Telephone Company
Antietam Cable Television, Inc.
Ardmore Telephone Company
Atkins Telephone Company, Inc.
Atlantic Broadband, LLC
Axiom Technologies
Ayrshire Farmers Mutual Telephone Company
Beehive Telephone Co., Inc.
BEK Communications Cooperative
Ben Lomand; Volunteer First Services, LLC
Bergen Telephone Company
Big Bend Telephone Company
Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative
Blue Ridge Communications
Blue Stream
Blue Valley Tele-Communications, Inc.
Brandenburg Telephone Company
Brazos Internet
Butler-Bremer Communications
C Spire
Cable ONE
Cameron Communications
Campti Pleasant Hill Telephone Company
Cap Rock Telephone Cooperative
Central Oklahoma Telephone Co. LLC
Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Chickamauga Telephone Corporation
Cimarron Telephone Company
Cincinnati Bell
Citizens of Kecksburg
Co-Mo Connect
Coleman County Telephone Cooperative
Colorado Valley Communications, Inc.
Communications 1 Network, Inc.
Community Fiber Solutions
Comporium Communications
Comteck of Indiana, Inc.
Consolidated Communications
Consolidated Telecom
Coon Valley Cooperative Telephone
Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
CTC Telcom
Cunningham Telephone & Cable
Delhi Telephone
DFT Communications/Netsync
Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative
Diode Communications
Direct Communications
DTC Communications
Duo County Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
East Buchanan Telephone Cooperative
Easton Utilities Commission
EC Fiber
Empire Access
Endeavor Communications
ETC Communications LLC
Etex dot net
F&B Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications
Farmers Mutual Telephone Cooperative
Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc.
Farmers Telecommunications Corporation
Farmers Telephone Company
Farmers Telephone Cooperative
Federated Telephone Cooperative
First Step Internet
Foothills Broadband
Garden Valley Telephone Company
GBT Communications
GCI Communication Corp.
Geneseo Telephone Company
Giant Communications
Glenwood Telephone
Google Fiber
Grand River Mutual Telephone Corp.
Grande Communications
Granite State Telephone
Green Hills Telephone ILEC
Green Mountain Access
Gridley Telephone Co.
Griggs County Telephone Company
Griswold Cooperative Telephone Company
GTel Teleconnections
Guadalupe Valley Telephone Cooperative
H&B Communications, Inc.
Hamilton County Telephone Coop
Hamilton Telephone Company
Hancock Communications, Inc.
Harrisonville Telephone Company
Hawaiian Telcom
Heart of Iowa Communications Cooperative
Heartland Cable, Inc.
Highland Telephone Cooperative
Hill Country Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Hilliary Communications
Home Telecom
Hometown Utili-com
Inland Telephone Company
Inter-Community Telephone Company
Internet Colorado
Jaguar Communications
JBN Telephone Company, Inc.
KanOkla Networks
Kentec Communications Inc
La Porte City Telephone Company
Lackawaxen Telephone Co
LHTC Broadband
Lincoln County Telephone System
Lincolnville Telephone Company
Long Lines
Madison County Telephone Company, Inc.
Margaretville Telephone
Marne & Elk Horn Telephone Company
Mid Century Telephone Cooperative
Mid-Hudson Cablevision
Mid-Plains Rural Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Miller Telephone Company
Mosaic Telecom
Mountain Telephone
Myakka Communications
Nelson Telephone Cooperative
Nemont Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
New Visions
Nicholville Telephone
NineStar Communications
Nittany Media, Inc.
Nortex Communications
North Central Communications
North Dakota Telephone Company
North Penn
North State Communications
Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Company
Northland Communications
Northwest Communications Cooperative, Inc.
Norwood Light Broadband
Nova Cablevision Inc.
NTS Communications, Inc.
Ogden Telephone Company
Omnitel Communications
OmniTel Communications
On-Ramp Indiana, Inc.
Oneida Telephone Exchange
OneSource Communications
Oregon Telephone Corporation
Otelco Inc.
Packerland Broadband
Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Partner Communications Cooperative
Pathway Com-Tel, Inc.
Paul Bunyan Telephone
Peoples Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Pine Telephone Systems, Inc.
Pioneer Communications
Pioneer Communications Company
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative
Pioneer Wireless, Inc.
Plains Cooperative Telephone Association,...
Plateau Telecommunications, Inc.
Poka Lambro Telephone Cooperative
Polar Communications Mutual Aid Corporation
Project Mutual Telephone Cooperative...
Pulaski White Rural Telephone Coop., Inc.
Pymatuning Indep. Tel. Company
Race Communications
Rainbow Communications
Ralls Technologies
Range Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Red River Rural Telephone Association
Reliance Connects
Relyant Communications
Ritter Communications
River Valley Telecommunications Coop
Ronan Telephone Company
RTC Communications
Rural Telephone
Rural Telephone Company
S&T Telephone Coop Assoc Inc
Salina Spavinaw Telephone Co., Inc.
Santa Rosa Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Santel Communications Cooperative
Shawnee Telephone Company
Silver Star Communications
Slic Network Solutions
Smart City
South Canaan Telephone Company
South Central Utah Telephone Association Inc
South Slope Cooperative Communications
Southeast Nebraska Telephone Company
Southeastern IN Rural Telephone
Southern Kansas Telephone Company, Inc.
Southwest Arkansas Telephone Cooperative, Inc
SRT Communications, Inc.
Star Communications
Star Telephone Membership Corporation
Starbuck Telephone Company
State Telephone
Steelville Telephone Exchange, Inc.
Strata Networks
Summit Broadband
Sunman Telecommunications Corporation
T.V. Service
Taylor Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Tele-Media Solutions
Telephone Service Company
Thacker-Grigsby Telephone
The Middleburgh Telephone Company
Titonka-Burt Communications
TMLP Online
Totelcom Communications, LLC
Tri-County Communications Cooperative
Triangle Communications
TrioTel Communications, Inc.
Troy Cablevision, Inc.
Tularosa Communications, Inc.
Turtle Mountain Communications
Twin Valley Telephone, Inc.
United Communications
United Communications Association
USA Communications
Valley Telecommunications
Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Van Buren Telephone Company, Inc.
Venture Communications Coop.
Vermont Telephone Company
Vernon Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Visionary Communications, Inc.
Volo Broadband
Vyve Broadband
Wabash Independent Networks, Inc.
Wabash Mutual Telephone Company
Wahkiakum West Television, Inc.
Wamego Telecommunications Company, Inc.
Wave Broadband
Webster-Calhoun Cooperative Telephone...
Wes-Tex Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative,...
West Central Telephone Association
West Plains Telecommunications, Inc.
West River Cooperative Telephone Company
West River Telecommunications Cooperative
West Wisconsin Telcom Cooperative
Westel Fiber
Westel Systems
Western Iowa Networks
Western Iowa Telephone
Whidbey Telecom
Wiggins Telephone
Wikstrom Telephone Company
Winn Telecom
Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association
Wintek Corporation
Wittenberg Cable TV Company
WK&T Telecommunications Cooperative
Woodstock Telephone Company
Wyoming Mutual Telephone Company
XIT Communications
Yelcot Telephone Company
Yucca Telecom
Zona Communications