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What is Fiber Internet?

Fiber optic internet delivers a higher quality business and residential internet connection that is much faster, more powerful, and the most reliable when compared to other internet connections like DSL, cable, and satellite. Fiber internet speeds can easily reach 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) and up, and this includes both download and upload speeds. Let’s compare internet connections and the speeds needed to perform everyday internet activities.

1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) = 1,000 Mbps (Megabits per second): the measurement of data transferred in seconds.

Man using fiber internet

Internet Speeds: Fiber Vs Cable Vs DSL Vs Satellite

Technology Download Speed Range Upload Speed Range Latency Reliability
Fiber 250 Mbps – 1,000 Mbps 250 Mbps – 1,000 Mbps 10 ms – 12 ms Extremely reliable
Cable 10 Mbps – 500 Mbps 5 Mbps – 50 Mbps 13 ms – 27 ms Generally reliable except for peak times
DSL 5 Mbps – 35 Mbps 1 Mbps – 10 Mbps 11 ms – 40 ms Significantly reliable
Satellite 12 Mbps – 100 Mbps 3 Mbps 594 ms – 612 ms Can be subject to harsh weather conditions

How much download speed do you need?

INTERNET ACTIVITY MINIMUM RECOMMENDED SPEED
Browsing and Email 1 Mbps
Social Media 1 Mbps
Gaming 3 Mbps
Streaming (Standard Definition) 3 Mbps
Streaming (High Definition) 5 Mbps
4K Streaming 25 Mbps

“Fiber transmits data at speeds far exceeding current DSL or cable modem speeds, typically by tens or even hundreds of Mbps.” - FCC

When searching for fiber internet providers, you may also find it listed as fiber optic internet, optic fiber internet, fiber broadband, or fiber. Also, keep in mind this type of broadband is not available to customers in all areas of the country. Currently it is available to a little over 30% of homes in the U.S. Some cable providers, such as Cox and Xfinity, use a hybrid network of both coaxial and fiber lines to reach speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps or more.

Key Takeaways:

Types of Fiber Internet

There are various types of fiber connections available to residential customers. The fiber type available in your area will determine the speeds you can expect to receive.

FTTH

The most sought after is pure fiber - fiber to the home (FTTH), sometimes referred to as fiber to the premises (FTTP). This type is only found in select areas. Fiber to the home is delivered via fiber optic cables running the entire way to the customer’s location. This type offers the top speed, reliability, and consistent internet connection.

FTTC

Fiber to the curb (FTTC) is the next best connection. This type is delivered over fiber optic cable running to the curb outside your house, after which, the standard copper or coaxial cable carries the signal to your home. This is where you could see a drop in speed and reliability.

FTTN

The most common fiber optic connection is fiber to the node (FTTN). This type is often referred to as HFC or hybrid fiber-coaxial, and most often provided by cable operators. FTTN is delivered over fiber optic cable running to a central hub, or the node, after which copper or coaxial cables carry the data signal to the customer. This type still delivers faster speeds than standard internet connections but is susceptible to the average drop in service.

Top Fiber Internet Providers in 2021

Provider Starting prices Download speeds Connection Type
AT&T $35.00/mo. and up 300 Mbps–940 Mbps Fiber
Frontier $24.99/mo. and up 50–940 Mbps Fiber, DSL
Optimum $24.95/mo. and up 10-940 Mbps Fiber, Cable
CenturyLink $49.00/mo. and up 10-940 Mbps Fiber, DSL
RCN $19.99/mo. and up 25–940 Mbps Fiber, Cable
Spectrum $49.99/mo. and up 100-940 Mbps Hybrid-Fiber Coax
Cox $29.99/mo. and up 10–1,000 Mbps Fiber, Cable
Girl using Fiber optic internet

Fiber Optic Internet Connection

How to Get One for Your Home?

There may be fiber internet near you. Many internet providers now offer some type of fiber optic connection. Most of these fiber providers utilize a hybrid network, mainly because it’s just too expensive to build an entire network of fiber optic cables directly to every home.

The providers that offer fiber have built out part of a fiber network in certain areas. They then use their existing internet network, be it copper or coaxial cable, to carry the data to your home. This type of hybrid internet is still much faster than:

  1. Cable
  2. DSL
  3. Wireless
  4. Satellite internet

High speed internet connection represented by a lightning bolt Checking For Fiber Internet Availability

Getting a fiber optic internet service is all about where you live. If you don’t live in an area that has fiber infrastructure then you will have to rely on another type of internet access.

If you want to see fiber providers in your area, enter your ZIP code and browse a list of your fiber options.

Zip Searech USA MAP

Popular fiber internet providers of 2021

Provider Top Speed Price Contract Wifi
Satellite TV, internet, and phone service provider AT&T logo 940 Mbps $60/mo.
for 12 mos.
No contract $10/mo.
Best tv and internet service provider in the nation Mediacom logo 940 Mbps $79.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
No contract $11.50/mo.
Top cable internet provider Spectrum logo 940 Mbps $109.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
No contract Included
High speed internet, cable tv, home security services provider Cox Communications logo 940 Mbps $99.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
No contract $9.99/mo.
Best cable television and internet company, RCN logo 940 Mbps $59.99/mo. No contract $9.95/mo.
Residential and business internet, phone and TV provider, Century Link logo 940 Mbps $65/mo. No contract $15/mo.
Best cable television and internet company, Optimum logo 940 Mbps $69.99/mo. No contract $10/mo.
Largest DSL internet provider, Frontier Communications logo 940 Mbps $64.99/mo.
for 12 mos.
No contract $10/mo.

How Fast is Fiber Internet?

Highlights That Make Fiber Optic Internet Worth It

Fiber offers the fastest form of internet, and speeds can reach up to 10 Gbps, but most residential fiber providers offer top speeds of 1 Gbps, or 1,000 Mbps. These types of fiber download speeds make it possible for multiple users on multiple devices to effortlessly engage in high-bandwidth internet activities simultaneously.

The entire family can enjoy streaming, gaming, browsing at the same time, while someone is working from home. You can do this without interference, speed drops, lags, and other traditional internet pitfalls.

Symmetrical Speeds

Many users typically download more data (receive) than upload data (send), but for those who need faster upload speed, a FTTH connection provides symmetrical upload and download speeds as opposed to the asymmetric speeds of DSL, satellite, and cable. Those connections offer higher download speeds and only fractional upload speeds. But keep in mind that when a provider says they offer symmetrical speeds, it’s for a wired connection.

Best When Wired

Albeit, most users prefer the convenience of WiFi, fiber connection speed may diminish when using in-home WiFi. The signal strength is simply not as strong as the wired connection delivered to your router. Therefore, if you want to experience the true power of Fiber, go for a wired connection.

Drastically Reduced Latency

Fiber internet doesn’t experience latency issues like DSL, cable, satellite, and wireless internet. The lower latency with fiber means you won’t experience a delay between your actions and the results. In terms of response time, searches are quicker, loads are quicker, and gaming is quicker.

Superior Efficiency

The fiber-optic threads are smaller, which means more threads can fit into the fiber cables that deliver high-speed internet. This makes fiber a more efficient internet delivery source.

Immaculately Consistent

A fiber connection also stays unaffected by network congestion or other external factors. You don’t see a decrease in speed or bandwidth at peak hours. Fiber optic internet is consistently faster and experiences less service interruptions than DSL, cable, and satellite connections.

An Investment Worth It!

Fiber is fast! Many customers will choose the speed and performance of fiber even though it can be more expensive than other internet connections.

Should I Rent or Buy Equipment for a Fiber Connection?

Renting Equipment

Renting equipment from your provider wipes out potential hiccups and streamlines your initial setup. And, it also makes you eligible for tech support during the period of your subscription. But the finances always discredit the effort.

PROS

  • Easy setup
  • Free replacement
  • Regular software updates
  • Free tech support from your ISP

CONS

  • Mediocre hardware
  • More costly in the long run
  • Monthly rental fees subject to change
  • Difficult customization that might cast off your device configuration

Buying Your Own Equipment

Regardless of whether you consider equipment fees as a fair service charge or overrated add-on, buying your own equipment will save money for most consumers.

PROS

  • Saves money in the long run
  • Easier to change plans or switch providers
  • Variety of higher-performance modems options

CONS

  • No tech support
  • Tricky installation
  • High upfront cost
  • Service compatibility issues may occur

How Do I Install Equipment for Fiber Internet Service?

If you are tech savvy, installing fiber equipment may be worth it. Of course, the point of concern is not whether you can follow the installation instructions, it is whether or not you are comfortable with tackling the unforeseen problems if and when any arises.

Or you can get a technician from your service provider come to your home to set it up for you. They will install the Optical Network Terminal (ONT) or Fiber modem in your house to serve as a connection point for the fiber optic cable.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of Fiber Internet

Fiber optic internet is overall the best internet service available to residential customers, but there are a few drawbacks. However, it’s important to remember that these disadvantages are not service related.

PROS

  • Much faster internet speeds than other connections like cable, DSL, satellite, & wireless
  • Lower latency than other connections
  • Symmetrical download and upload speeds
  • Most reliable connection
  • Overall, best performing internet

CONS

  • Not widely available across the U.S.
  • More expensive infrastructure maintenance
  • More expensive than other internet connections

Looking for other services?

BuyTVInternetPhone offers more than just high-speed internet. With us, you can also avail yourself of the best cable TV deals and home phone service packages.

High speed internet connection represented by a lightning bolt Unleash the power of your zip code!

Last updated: July 19, 2021

Fiber Internet FAQs

Fiber optic broadband is a technology that transmits data in the form of light. Optical fibers are small glass strands that are bundled together to form cables. The optical fiber cables carry light down the length of the cable line, transmitting the data in seconds. Unlike other internet connections, the speed of fiber does not decrease over distance. Fiber limits data interference while allowing for more data capacity. As it stands, fiber is easily the fastest internet available.

Fiber optic internet can reach speeds up to 10 Gbps i.e. 10 billion bits per second. However, this type of pure fiber is not found in residential areas yet. Right now, most fiber customers can expect to see 1 – 2 Gbps; which is still lightning fast. Compared to other internet connections: cable internet offers anywhere from 25 – 300 Mbps. DSL can offer up to 75 Mbps. And Satellite offers between 5 – 25 Mbps.

A fiber optic connection is not available everywhere in the U.S. You will need to check fiber availability in your area. However, while building out an infrastructure is costly, more providers are expanding their fiber networks. This is good news for internet customers. In fact, there are hundreds of fiber providers in the U.S.

This depends on the type of fiber that is being provided. If fiber optic infrastructure is already available in your area, then your provider will only have to install the network equipment. Fiber To The Home (FTTH) will require optical network terminal (ONT) installation. The ONT connects to your router or computer. For a hybrid fiber network, installation is the same as any other type of internet install. It can be set up as soon as the provider can get a technician out to your home or apartment.

This will depend on the type of fiber from your provider. The modem you may have had for your cable or DSL service will most likely not be compatible with fiber broadband. However, your fiber optic internet provider will include a compatible modem with your internet subscription.

Gigabit internet simply refers to the speed, which is 1 gigabit per second. Fiber is the type of connection your provider is using to deliver your internet. However, fiber is the only source for a gigabit connection. If an internet provider is offering gigabit speed, that means their network is either fully or partly built with fiber optic cable.

It’s true that fiber optic internet is the perfect choice for homes with multiple users who enjoy surfing, streaming, gaming, and even work from home. But often overlooked, fiber enhances the smart home experience. Homes with voice assistants like Alexa, smart thermostats, lights, locks, and many other gadgets, will see improved performance. Fiber is also beneficial for homeowners with online home security features.