Your Internet service is not reliable? There may be fiber in your future.
Fiber optic Internet (often simply referred to as “fiber”) can be incredibly faster than the DSL, cable, or satellite Internet connections that many Americans rely on. it’s also quite rare, relatively speaking. According to a January study by the Fiber Broadband Association, 43% of US homes can access fiber internet service, but that may soon start to change.
Between a presidential push to expand broadband internet access and a handful of recent broadband funding announcements from various agencies, fiber service could become much more readily available. This is especially useful for corners of the country where reliable internet access is hard to come by. But who is going to bury all these new cables in the ground? And what does all this mean for you? Here’s what you need to know about fiber internet and how the government’s Internet-for-All push could affect you For years, American households have largely relied on copper telephone wires or coaxial connections from cable companies to get online. The problem is that there are limits to how fast data can travel through these metallic media, not to mention limits to how far signals can travel through them before they start to degrade.
Fiber is different. Instead of relying on metal wires, fiber optic cables are made up of hundreds of hair-like strands of glass where data is moved in the form of light pulses at ultra-fast speeds. This means that the volume of data that can travel through a fiber optic cable over time, also known as bandwidth, can be much greater than what you can get from your current internet connection. That’s why many fiber-based home internet providers can offer download and upload speeds of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) or more, while the average landline internet connection in the United States is around 225 megabits per second, or about 23% of the speed of a gigabit fiber connection. “We don’t really know the upper limits of a fiber cable yet,” said Chao Jun Liu, legislative associate at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We’re still figuring that out.” There is also another advantage here: symmetry. It’s very common for a household to be able to download things faster than they can download them, and for most people that’s not much of a problem. But as we start pushing more data out into the world, whether it’s through Twitch streams, YouTube uploads, or something else, download speeds are becoming more and more of a concern. And as we collectively adopt new gadgets, so does the need for bandwidth to keep them all connected.
“Copper is practically obsolete. Done,” Liu said. “Cable is reaching an upper limit that we will probably reach within the next decade. Fiber could probably meet our needs for the next 30 or even 50 years.” The sprawling infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law last year allocated $65 billion to expanding access Broadband internet to all Americans, and most of that money will go to US states and territories through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program or BEAD, for short. BEAD is managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and he specified in a document called a Funding Opportunity Notice which type of internet connection he prefers. “With respect to the deployment of last-mile broadband infrastructure, the program prioritizes projects designed to deliver fiber connectivity directly to the end user,” the notice states. To achieve this, each participating state is eligible for a minimum funding of $100 million, while territories like Guam and American Samoa are eligible for $25 million.
BEAD isn’t the only Internet access expansion program with a bent toward fiber, though the word itself isn’t always prominent. Earlier this summer, the Treasury Department’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund began awarding hundreds of millions of dollars to states that have developed plans to provide “a service that reliably meets or exceeds download and upload speeds.” symmetric 100 Mbps” when possible. “Anytime you come across 100/100, it’s just code for fiber,” says Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy adviser for Consumer Reports.
Source: This news was originally published by washington post