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The term fiber optic internet sure sounds like a complex technological term to everyone who is not aware of modern internet technology. And, many would not be able to guess what it implies. However, with advancements in the field of internet tech in recent years, fiber internet is becoming a more mainstream choice not only for businesses, but residential purposes. And, that alone necessitates you gain some basic level knowledge about what exactly it is and what it means for internet users. Today, we’ll talk about different aspects of fiber optic internet, so as to help you determine how you must go about choosing a fiber internet service.

What is Fiber Optic Internet?

Fiber internet is networking technology at its absolute best! Through fiber optic cables, data transfer is  made to occur at extremely high speeds, enough for provider networks to deliver up to 1,000 Mbps fast internet to the consumer. Fiber optic cables are able to carry data in the form of light pulses over long distances without significant degradation.

Fiber optic connections are of many types depending on how far the fiber optic lines are spread out. At times, you many get a fiber optic line straight to your home; while at other times, the fiber cable may only reach a distribution point in the neighborhood, and data may be carried over copper or coaxial cables from thereon until the subscriber’s location. This is where the latest DOCSIS networking protocols come in handy—and help data hop over from the fiber optic backbone in the network to the local coaxial or copper lines in a neighborhood. However, in most cases the “last mile” is short and despite the switch over, consumers can enjoy a sturdy fiber optic internet connection.

With fiber optic internet you get many benefits—it’s a wired connection so it does not get affected by inclement weather, as does a satellite or fixed wireless internet service. There is plenty of bandwidth so you don’t end up with a buffering loop on your streaming screen, only because your neighbor begins to eat on available bandwidth. Above all, it is ‘notorious for speeding’, so you never have to worry about how many family members are connected simultaneously either. 

Now, this must make you wonder if fiber optic internet is such a high performing type of connection, what difference would it make as to which provider you subscribe to. But, the thing is when choosing the right kind of internet service and provider for yourself, you must know speed is not the only factor you need to take into consideration. A service provider’s reputation, customer service and customer reviews are as or more important, and must be paid heed to. Similarly it is critical that you view package details, costs, terms of service agreement etc. with great care.   

What You Must Look for in a Fiber Optic Connection

Just because you are opting for a cutting-edge type of internet, compared to DSL and cable, does not mean you can trust everything on face value—rather you must judge well if a fiber internet service will actually bring you the worth of your money. If a provider does not give out FTTH connections, ask about how long is the “last mile” until your location? Find out how much the performance of the internet may get affected by the last stretch over coaxial or copper. Make sure you know whether or not a provider gives unlimited data every month. Because, after all what is the point in blazing-fast internet if the provider caps your data? Last but not least, seek to know what other consumers have to say about the quality of service and after-sales customer support extended by a provider.

Popular Fiber Internet Providers

Since it is termed as the future of broadband, many service providers are venturing into provision of fiber optic internet. Some have revamped their pre-existing coaxial or DSL networks by strengthening its fiber backbone, while others have endeavored to lay out new infrastructure that will make FTTH connections possible. So, not only high-speed cable and DSL broadband, delivered over a hybrid network, is available in most markets, but pure fiber optic internet that reaches your home.

With the passage of time, all providers will have to step up to the plate, and make investments in this area, however that will require some time. At the present, there are a few ISPs of nationwide repute, which are able to deliver pure fiber internet to urban communities across the U.S. And, there are some smaller providers too, which are in the business locally.

Here we take a look at some big names in the U.S. ISP industry. Most of these Fiber internet providers have long been in the business of cable and DSL broadband. In some parts of their service regions, they have invested in provision of 100% fiber optic internet, while in most areas they utilize a hybrid network—fiber-coaxial or fiber-copper.  Overall, availability of fiber optic internet therefore remains rather select.

AT&T— a household name across America, AT&T Fiber gives you speeds from 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps. You can also get 300 Mbps fast internet in some regions. AT&T Fiber comes with unlimited data. And, plans are very affordable for the first 12 months at the introductory price. The best part is if you pair your AT&T Fiber service with AT&T TV, you get to save an estimated $120 during the first year—because AT&T gives a $10 discount on your IPTV subscription.

CenturyLink—CenturyLink has been providing DSL services to urban, suburban and rural America for a good while now. More recently CenturyLink has come to offer high-speed DSL and pure fiber optic internet to the consumer. Well known for its Price For Life deals on high-speed DSL, CenturyLink Fiber is no less an option. Albeit, CenturyLink does not include its Gigabit plan in the Price For Life offer, the service comes at a competitive price, brings you unlimited data, as well as a free modem and installation. The thing that most subscribers love is that CenturyLink does not make you sign a mandatory contract, you pay on a month-to-month basis.

Windstream Kinetic—Windstream, quite like CenturyLink has been long known for its DSL internet, more so in rural America. More recently Windstream has invested in revamping and upgrading their network. Windstream Kinetic comes powered by fiber optic internet—at some places the “last mile” is a little longer, but with the 1 GIG service is delivered via fiber optic lines that run almost into your home. Windstream does not place a data cap on its plans, and there is no contract either.

Optimum by Altice—Optimum has been known to deliver great cable broadband speeds, in New York New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Fiber optic internet from the provider, like others, is available in select neighborhoods. The Gig service from Optimum is priced affordably, gets you up to a 1,000 Mbps fast connection, and does not limit data usage. You get strong in-home Wi-Fi as well as hotspot access on the go. And, you can bag the Price For Life offer with standalone internet, as well as when you bundle your fiber internet service with Optimum cable TV.

Frontier Communications—Frontier is yet another company which has served America, rural in particular, for almost a century. Originally connecting people via twisted copper phone lines, later via DSL, and now through fiber broadband. Fiber Optic internet from Frontier gives you speeds starting from 50 Mbps, and goes as fast as 1,000 Mbps. There is also a 500 Mbps tier for an in-between speed option. All Frontier fiber optic internet plans come with unlimited data, and don’t make you sign a contract. And, all can be bundled with other services from Frontier, such as an IPTV and VoIP service at discounted rates.

Do I Have Fiber Optic near Me?

Here comes the bad part. Due to it being a recent development fiber optic scarcity is real. Overall, about 32% of the U.S. population has access to this new-gen internet service. In some states like Rhode Island an estimated 84% population can get fiber internet, while in others like West Virginia under 4% population can benefit from it. However, with most providers expanding the reach of their fiber optic network in urban and suburban neighborhoods, one can expect to see fiber internet more readily available in the coming years. We’d recommend you run a search by ZIP code to determine if any of the above mentioned fiber internet providers are offering fiber service at your address.  

A Look at the Best Fiber Internet Packages

Here, take a look at the speed and data offers from fiber internet providers, which we talked about earlier on, as well as the price range.

Frontier FiberOptic Internet

AT&T Fiber

Windstream Kinetic Gig

CenturyLink Fiber

Optimum by Altice

As you can see, all 5 top fiber internet providers in the U.S. listed above offer more or less the same service features. In terms of variety of speed, AT&T Fiber and Frontier FiberOptic give you more choice. Not all households need internet as fast as 1 Gig, and if a lower speed tier is available, that may make more sense. Otherwise, you may just be paying for speed you don’t need.

All these top rated fiber optic internet services give you unlimited data too, and there is no contract.  Frontier, AT&T and Windstream offers come at a price that is locked in for one full year, while CenturyLink Fiber is a month-to-month plan, and the Optimum Gigabit offer guarantees the same price for life.

Things to Remember When You Choose

Whether you are thinking of choosing a DSL, cable or fiber internet provider, there is a bunch of must-remember things—

Requirement: We all use the internet for different things. Every individual and every family has patterns of activity that can be gauged easily. So make sure you opt for a speed that you require, rather than just jumping onto the fiber internet bandwagon because it is trendy. If you need to conduct bandwidth heavy activities online, or if there are multiple devices that must connect to the in-home network, you should consider a fiber optic internet connection.  

Connection Type: As we said earlier on there are many types of fiber optic connections, and it is necessary you find out exactly how long the “last mile” is in your neighborhood. And, whether it is covered via coaxial or copper. This will help you have an idea of what kind of speeds may be delivered at your end versus the advertised speed. AT&T gives out Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) and Fiber to the Home (FTTH) connections, depending on network capability in the area. Gig service by CenturyLink, Windstream and Optimum is a FTTH connection, and so is the Frontier fiber optic internet service.

Budget: No doubt fiber optic internet is expensive, but the quality of the service and what you get overall out of a package is what determines its real value. Remember, this is the new-gen internet tech, and is only going to get better with time. The connection is reliable, and it gives you super-fast internet speeds. Unlimited data is a huge perk as well. Not many providers offer that with their cable or DSL broadband plans. All in all, the higher monthly price gets evened out in terms of value. With that said, we’d recommend if your usage does not necessitate fiber internet, you must not opt for it.

Customer Support: As with any other ISP, a fiber internet provider must also be judged based on how well it supports the customer after-sales. There is no point in having a cutting-edge internet service if the tech support you get is not worth your money. As for the fiber internet providers we have discussed today, rest assured you’ll receive full after-sales customer support.

Conclusion

Fiber optic internet is the future of internet technology—high speeds, ample bandwidth and reliability of fiber optic cables! Expensive, but worth it if you really need it. From the looks of it until availability spreads out, the cost of fiber optic internet may not see a decline. And that brings us to a reminder for you too—ensure to determine the availability of a fiber internet provider in your area, before you spend any more time on figuring out whether or not you need to switch.

Call 1-855-349-9328, and speak to the experts. They will help you find which provider and plans are available at your address, and also guide you as to which one may be the right fit for you.