Cities and Suburbs Often Get Fiber First

The underlying reality is that fiber-optic infrastructure tends to be built first in cities and suburbs because companies can recoup their costs faster by reaching more customers. Fiber-optic internet is a broadband connection that transmits data along light signals within thin strands of glass or plastic known as fiber-optic cables. Whereas typical broadband speeds today range from 25 Mbps – 100 Mbps, fiber optic speeds are measured in gigabytes (1 Gig = 1000 Mbps. Plus, fiber bandwidth is much higher than traditional copper cable, so it can handle more data at once. It’s also a more reliable and stable connection.

Whether your rural area has or will soon get fiber optic internet comes down to the terrain and number of likely users. Fiber optic cables are typically installed in one of two ways: buried about three to four feet below ground or strung aerially along utility poles. The aerial method is more cost-effective and more accessible for maintenance but also exposes the cable to the elements including storms. Some areas present topographical challenges, including mountainous regions, dense forests, and deep valleys. These geographical impediments escalate the initial project costs and complicate long-term network maintenance so they’re less likely to get fiber first.

Companies tend to invest where they can see a profit. The population density in some rural areas is a sparse 10 individuals per square mile. In contrast, several big U.S. cities have 12,000 people per square mile with New York City topping out at 29,000 people per square mile. For this reason, fiber infrastructure has been prioritized in urban and suburban locations.

Your Options

If fiber internet is in your area, or coming soon, your home address will receive mailers and you may see ads for it on social media, TV or online. You also may see work in progress as you drive around. Verizon, AT&T, Frontier and Google Fiber are among the largest fiber optic providers and you may already have been contacted especially if your mobile carrier is on that list. But if you can’t get fiber optic where you live you can still check here to look at other internet options.

You can also search for broadband internet options on your phone or online to see traditional cable, DSL, or even fixed wireless options for your area if they’re available. Typically, you’ll be asked to input your home address to see what levels of service can be provided. If your area has landlines, it’s a good bet you can get DSL internet because DSL signals travel along phone lines. It’s a slower connection than other types but some providers can combine technology methods to boost DSL speeds.

Fiber-optic service may sometimes be slightly more expensive than traditional service, but not always. In fact, it can be more affordable than the most expensive satellite plans. Some providers mandate contracts or bundle deals with mobile phone services, while others don't. Promotional prices might be available for up to a year, but they could increase afterward. Given its enhanced reliability, faster speeds, and higher bandwidth, fiber-optic cable is a clear choice where available. In areas where it's not, traditional DSL, coaxial cable or satellite internet can get you online.

We are here 24/7 to answer all of your Internet and TV Questions: