Fiber delivers a high-quality broadband service for commercial and residential users. It is more powerful, many times faster, delivers much more bandwidth, and is far more reliable when compared to other internet connection types like DSL, Cable, Fixed Wireless and Satellite.
Many different terms are used to refer to fiber optic internet such as fiber internet, optic fiber internet, fiber broadband, or Fiber―but all refer to the same technology. Currently this type of broadband has limited coverage in the U.S., with around 43% of the population able to access the cutting-edge internet type―albeit coverage is progressively expanding.
Fiber works by transferring data via light pulses across cables made of optical fibers. Optical fibers are thinner than human hair, and their constitution makes it possible for light to move through the fiber optic cable without escaping. Total internal reflection makes it possible for data to travel up to 60 miles without degradation―over longer distances optical amplifiers are used to boost the signal and ensure minimal data loss.
At the destination point, the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) converts light pulses into Ethernet―and connects your devices to super-fast and remarkably consistent internet.
|Internet Service Type||Max. Download Speed||Max. Upload Speed||Latency||Reliability|
|Fiber Optic||6 Gbps||6 Gbps||8 ms – 13 ms|
|Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial||1200 Mbps||50 Mbps||12 ms – 26 ms|
|Coaxial Cable||500 Mbps||50 Mbps||12 ms – 26 ms||May slow down at peak times|
|DSL||35 Mbps||10 Mbps||21 ms – 37 ms|
|High-Speed DSL||100 Mbps||10 Mbps||21 ms – 37 ms|
|Fixed Wireless||50 Mbps||5 Mbps||Similar to DSL||Depends on the line of sight, and can be affected by harsh weather conditions|
|Satellite||100 Mbps||3 Mbps||600 ms – 800 ms||Vulnerable to harsh weather conditions|
To assess whether or not fiber optic is really the type of connection you need to support the usage at your home, take a look at how much speed do standard online activities require. This can help you shape an idea of what speed you actually need―and it would become easier to pick the right connection type from the choices available in your area.
|Online Activity||Minimum Recommended Speed|
|General Browsing & Email||1 Mbps|
|Social Media||1 Mbps|
|Gaming||3 Mbps - 4 Mbps|
|Streaming SD||3 Mbps - 4 Mbps|
|Streaming HD||5 Mbps - 8 Mbps|
|Streaming 4K UHD||25 Mbps|
|Standard One-to-One Call||1 Mbps - 1.5 Mbps|
|Video Conferencing (HD)||6 Mbps|
Not only are there is a variety of fiber internet providers in the U.S. industry, but more than one types of Fiber in the residential market. Take a look at the common types available for residential usage―this can help you know better what to expect from providers serving your neighborhood.
The most sought after types of fiber broadband are the ones that are delivered via Fiber cables running to your location.
Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) brings you maximum advantage of Fiber technology straight to your doorstep.
With Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP), you may at times find Fiber cables running to the larger premises where you are housed, and copper or coaxial cables used to cover a short distance to your exact location. While this can affect the speed and consistency of the internet connection, the impact tends to be minimal.
FTTH and FTTP connections are currently not as widely available as the hybrid types of Fiber. Service providers like AT&T and CenturyLink are among the top ranking that deliver FTTH/FTTP connections.
The majority of Fiber connections you are likely to see available for home usage include Fiber-to-the-Curb (FTTC) and Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN).
FTTC and FTTN are both hybrid arrangements wherein Fiber cables run to a central location in the vicinity of your house, and depending on the available infrastructure and technologies used by a fiber internet provider, copper or coaxial lines are used from thereon to the subscriber’s exact location.
With FTTC a central platform is used to connect several customers in the area―usually within a 300-meter radius. And with FTTN a central cabinet or node is used to serve customers usually located within a 1500-meter radius.
This type of hybrid fiber optic internet is more readily available, but not able to support equal speeds for uploads and downloads like a 100% Fiber connection does.
|Provider||Max Download Speed||Data Allowance||Monthly Price||Availability*|
plus taxes. Autopay & Paperless Bill req’d.*
*Price after $5/mo autopay & paperless bill discount (w/in 2 bills). Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. One time install chrg may apply. Ltd. avail/areas.
|31.06% of AT&T’s footprint in 21 states|
Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection.
Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.
|22.67% of CenturyLink’s footprint in 36 states|
For 6 months. $69.95/mo. for months 7-18. Regular price $89.95/mo. Internet download speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Observed speeds may vary. All speeds not available in all areas. Offer valid for new residential subscribers only.
|100% of MetroNet’s footprint in 13 states|
|Ziply Fiber||1 Gbps||Unlimited||
For 12 months w/autopay and paperless billing. Price shown before taxes and fees.
|50.30% of Ziply’s footprint in 4 states|
*Fiber coverage stats by provider as per the FCC Broadband Map (2020 Public Release)
While 100% Fiber connections may not be as readily accessible, alternative types such as FTTC or FTTN are not difficult to come by―most urban and suburban regions are served by Cable providers that now use a hybrid network of Fiber and Coaxial lines and a mix of the latest technologies so as to deliver Fiber-powered internet.
Providers like Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, Xtream Powered by Mediacom and Optimum by Altice deliver up to 1 Gbps for downloads over a hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network. Such an arrangement relies on pre-existing coaxial cable infrastructures in a neighborhood to carry data in the “last mile”―and helps reduce the costs involved.
You may not get symmetrical speeds, but for home usage what matters more is the power to download, and better bandwidth―and you get a lot of that! There maybe occasional slowdowns, but not as you would experience with traditional Cable.
Scroll down―and take a look at our listing of the top national and regional Cable providers that use an advanced hybrid network powered by Fiber―with 1 Gig plans readily available across their service territory.
|Provider||Max Download Speed||Data Allowance||Monthly Price||Availability|
|Xfinity||1.2 Gbps||1.2 TB||
In select markets. For the first 24 months with No Term Agreement. Includes $10/mo. automatic payments and paperless billing discount.
for 12 months.
|Cox Communications||940 Mbps||1.25 TB||
for 12 months w/1-yr. agmt.
|Xtream Powered by Mediacom||1000 Mbps||6 TB||
for 1 yr. Plus installation, activation, modem rental, taxes & fees. Price includes $10/mo. discount for autopay & paperless billing.
|Optimum by Altice||1 Gbps||Unlimited||
for 12 months plus taxes w/AutoPay & Paperless bill
|Astound Broadband Powered by Wave||940 Mbps||Unlimited||
for 12 months in select markets
|Astound Broadband Powered by RCN||940 Mbps||Unlimited||
for 12 months in select markets
|Astound Broadband Powered by Grande||940 Mbps||Unlimited||
for 12 months in select markets
|Exclusive to Texas|
3 TB / Unlimited
(depending on your location)
In select markets. For 12 months with Autopay & Paperless billing. Equipment & speed availability may vary by area.
Getting a Fiber service is all about where you live. In urban settings you’re likely to find a fiber internet provider with relative ease. Now, most suburban regions are also better equipped with Fiber infrastructures.
Pure Fiber speeds for residential consumption now reach up to 6 Gbps (Gigabit per second). And major cable providers that use a hybrid network to deliver fiber-powered Cable broadband, can provide speeds up to 1200 Mbps for home usage. Outside residential consumption however, you’ll even find speeds up to 10 Gbps!
Such ultra-fast download speeds make it possible for users to connect multiple devices for bandwidth-intensive activities, all at the same time, without facing a lag!
Residential users typically download more data (receive) than upload (send). However, for those who need faster upload power, an FTTH/FTTP connection provides equal upload and download speeds as opposed to the asymmetric speeds of DSL, Cable, Satellite and Fixed Wireless. Whereas cable broadband powered by Fiber can support up to 1.2 Gbps download speeds, but only a fraction of that for upload.
For pro gamers, content builders, and influencers, high upload speeds supported by pure Fiber are a godsend!
Optical fibers that constitute Fiber cables are extremely thin, and their constitution makes it possible for light pulses to carry data at an amazing speed. These optical fibers can also carry much higher frequency ranges―which translates into a higher bandwidth and more data carried per second.
You can expect an FTTH connection to remain unaffected by network congestion―with no slowdowns at peak hours, as with cable broadband.
With ultra-low latency, Fiber is an ideal match for gaming enthusiasts. You won’t experience a delay in response time, searches are quicker, loads are quicker, and gaming is quicker.
One of the biggest factors contributing to the worth of your investment in a Fiber connection is the price.
Unlike a few years ago, Fiber is relatively more available to the consumer, and service plans are cheaper. Largely speaking, you’re likely to see prices more comparable to that of Fiber-powered Cable broadband―and even cheaper depending on your location.
An affordable price only adds to the appeal of fiber internet―you get to experience the edge it provides, at a rate that does not throw your budget off track―and every penny you put in gets you good value in return.
Many providers offer both a professional and self install option for a fiber connection. But a pre-requisite for self-installation is having an optical network terminal (ONT) already installed at your premises. Otherwise a technician would have to visit and install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) or Fiber modem that serves as the connection point for the fiber optic cable running into your house.
For the tech savvy, a pre-installed ONT can save you the upfront cost of installation. But you’d have to set up your router for Wi-Fi connectivity at home. As for buying or renting equipment, many service providers allow customers to use their own router to avoid a monthly rental fee. But if you are not tech-oriented, it is better to go along with the Wi-Fi equipment offered by the provider, and let them handle its maintenance, upgrades and replacement, as well as troubleshoot problems.
Pure Fiber is the best type of a broadband connection available to residential customers, with just a few drawbacks―these disadvantages are however not related to the quality of service.
Fiber broadband involves data transmission via light pulses through optical fibers that constitute fiber optic cables. Optical Fibers are like small glass strands and are bundled to form cables. Since data is carried through light pulses it travels at ultra-fast speeds. Fiber optic cables can carry data without degradation for up to 60 miles. Over longer distances, optical amplifiers are used to boost the signal and ensure minimal data loss. Fiber broadband is less vulnerable to interference and has a greater capacity to carry more data through in a given amount of time. It is the fastest and most reliable internet type in the market.
Fiber broadband can deliver speeds up to 10 Gbps (10000 Mbps). However, such high speeds are not yet available for residential consumption. Currently residential customers can expect to see up to 6/6 Gbps―which is still lightning fast. No other internet connection type, DSL, Cable, Fixed Wireless or Satellite can deliver such high speeds even for downloads.
Pure Fiber is not yet readily available everywhere in the U.S. You will need to check availability in your area. However, many service providers are using advanced hybrid networks that deliver Fiber-powered cable broadband with download speeds up to 1200 Mbps. To determine which fiber broadband providers are serving your neighborhood call at 1-855-349-9328.
A pure Fiber connection requires an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) which acts like a modem and connects you to the provider’s network. The ONT also connects to your router for WiFi connectivity around the house. If fiber optic infrastructure pre-exists in your area, the provider will only have to install the network equipment, otherwise the ONT as well.
Pure Fiber broadband requires an Optical Network Terminal which acts like a modem and connects you to the provider’s network. The ONT also connects to the router to deliver WiFi connectivity around the house. For Fiber-powered cable broadband however you will require a Cable modem that is able to support the delivered speeds. All providers offer customers equipment compatible with the type of service they provide.
Gigabit internet simply refers to the speed an internet connection delivers, which is 1 gigabit per second. Fiber is the technology used for connections that support 1 Gbps speeds and higher―it acts as the source of the gigabit internet. If an internet provider offers gigabit speed, that means their network is either fully or partly powered by Fiber.
It is true Fiber broadband is the perfect choice for homes with multiple users who enjoy surfing, streaming, gaming, and also need the internet to work from home or attend online class. However, what is often overlooked is Fiber enhances the quality of your experience with higher bandwidth, ultra-low latency, consistency, and its overall reliability. This makes it an ideal choice for a seamless experience in homes that are equipped with voice assistants like Alexa, smart appliances like thermostats, lights, locks etc., and smart security devices like cameras, video doorbells, smoke alarms etc.
If you are looking for a pure Fiber service you should go for service plans from AT&T, CenturyLink, or MetroNet, depending on your location. Fiber-powered cable broadband from providers such as Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and Xtream Powered by Mediacom is more readily accessible around the country. To determine the Fiber service plans available in your area call at 1-855-349-9328.
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