Streaming movies and TV, playing online games, staying in touch with relatives across the country through video chats, and even working from home—these things have become mainstays of households across the world, changing the ways we live, work, and play. For many rural families, a lack of affordable options for fast, reliable internet connections make it harder to keep up with their urban counterparts.
Fiber optic internet infrastructure makes connecting easier and faster than ever before—even for rural communities. At TISD, we’re laying the groundwork for fiber connections in rural communities across South Texas, changing the game for rural high-speed internet.
What is fiber optic internet?
Fiber optic internet, or fiber internet, is a relatively new internet technology that uses fiber optic cables to quickly and efficiently send and receive data, providing reliable, powerful, and above all, fast internet connections to homes and businesses.
How Fiber Internet Works
Most ground-based internet infrastructure uses copper cables to send and receive data by converting the data into electrical signals. Fiber internet, on the other hand, converts data into pulses of light that travel through fiber optic cables. Light signals through fiber-optics don’t lose their strength or become distorted over long distances like electrical signals can, making fiber internet often stronger and more reliable.
How fast is fiber internet?
Fiber internet is incredibly fast. Fiber optic broadband can be up to 20 times faster than regular cable! If you compare a 40 Mbps cable internet connection to a 100 Gbps fiber internet connection, a file that takes 7 minutes to download through cable would take as little as 1 second to download through fiber!
A Rural Homeowner’s Guide to Fiber Optic Internet
Fiber internet technology has been around for a long time—since the 1990s—but across America, it’s only recently that building the infrastructure to support it has become cost-effective. Today, internet service providers are expanding their services mostly into urban areas, but rural communities also stand to benefit from it.
In a nutshell, fiber internet helps ensure rural communities can remain competitive with urban communities in the modern world. Just a few of the benefits of fiber internet for rural households include:
High-Speed Internet Access for Rural Households
Compared to traditional DSL or satellite connections, fiber optic internet provides much higher speeds and much more reliable performance, making it easier to stream content, participate in online activities, and work from home.
Improved Economic Opportunities
With faster and more reliable internet, local businesses can more effectively establish themselves online and grow their tools, while households can utilize remote work to bring in big-city paychecks from businesses across the country. In addition to supporting existing local businesses, fiber optic internet can also encourage residents to start new businesses and attract entrepreneurs from other areas to invest in the community.
Enhanced Education and Healthcare
Telemedicine and online learning have become widely used tools to provide convenient access to high-quality educational resources and healthcare services. By providing fast and reliable connections, fiber internet makes it easier for rural residents to use remote education and healthcare services.
How is fiber optic internet installed?
One of the common misconceptions of fiber is that it is difficult and complex to install, but it’s really no more complicated than any other form of cable.
Building fiber optic infrastructure can take a long time, but if and when fiber optic internet is available in your area, the installation process is as simple as installing phone or cable internet lines—except instead of copper cables, you have fiber optic cables. The cables lead to an optical network terminal or modem on your property that you can connect to over WiFi. Friendly service technicians take up the brunt of the work to get your devices connected and running smoothly on lightning-fast internet.
Pros and Cons of Fiber Optic Internet
Fiber internet provides many advantages over other forms of internet available in rural areas:
Fiber Internet vs. DSL
For many rural homes and businesses, DSL is one of the most accessible types of internet. DSL uses copper phone cables to transmit data, which are slower and less reliable than fiber optic cables. DSL is often significantly slower when it comes to uploading as opposed to downloading, while fiber optic provides equally fast upload and download speeds with low latency—meaning lag-free performance for streaming, gaming, and video calls.
Fiber internet is also less susceptible to interference and signal degradation, making it more stable and reliable, and it can handle increasing demand for high-speed data and emerging technologies like 4K streaming, VR, and IoT more easily than DSL.
Fiber vs. Satellite Internet
Satellite internet has its problems, including high latency and lag that makes it difficult to stream, game, or videoconference, and can be disrupted by heavy weather that can block satellite signals. Satellite also often comes with restrictive data caps and throttle connections after a certain threshold that is often all too easy to cross.
Fiber internet is reliable, rain or shine, with no lag and unlimited data usage without throttling.
Fixed Wireless vs. Fiber Internet
Fixed wireless broadband, or line-of-site internet, provides reliable and fast internet connections compared to satellite and DSL, but fiber optic internet blows it out of the water.
Fixed wireless transmits your internet through the air like WiFi, and while this can be an advantage over cable internet in many ways, it also comes with drawbacks. One of the drawbacks of fixed wireless is that it requires a clear line of sight between the user’s location and the provider’s towers.
TISD’s towers are always set up to provide the best unobstructed service possible to homes and businesses in our service areas. However, when it comes to fiber internet vs. WiFi, fiber eliminates the need for line-of-sight with WiFi towers altogether.
Disadvantages of Fiber Optic Internet
In terms of the pros and cons of fiber optic internet, while fiber may have many advantages, it isn’t without its disadvantages, either. The primary disadvantage is that fiber infrastructure just doesn’t exist yet in the rural areas that need it most. It will take a significant investment in building infrastructure to bring affordable fiber internet to rural communities.
TISD: Building Fiber Optic Internet in South Texas
Rollouts of fiber optic internet are providing even faster and more reliable internet to households and businesses, but rural communities are still being left behind by major service providers. For decades, we at TISD have made it our mission to go where the big internet service providers fear to tread and offer affordable, fast, reliable internet to underserved rural communities across South Texas.
We are committed to keeping on top of the latest technologies to provide faster internet made friendly to our local communities, which is why we’re laying the groundwork to expand into fiber internet for rural towns and communities in our service areas.
Currently, we are building our fiber infrastructure in Quail Creek, TX, with plans to roll out fiber internet services to homes and businesses in the area in the coming years. Once our fiber internet services in Quail Creek are established, we will begin work on expanding to other parts of South Texas.
To get updates on the construction of our fiber network and find out when fiber internet will become available in Quail Creek, add your name to our mailing list today!