Why fiber internet?Ron Holcomb | Friday, April 27, 2018
In last month’s article, I shared that Tipmont is bringing fiber broadband internet to our members. Feedback from our members has made it clear that their quality of life was threatened due to the lack of a high speed broadband internet service. As a member-owned and member-driven organization, Tipmont is uniquely positioned to meet these challenges.
In our 2017 member survey, you told us that reliability and speed were your most important service aspects. Other technologies deployed to deliver internet service to rural areas failed because they didn’t meet one or both of those criteria. These technologies have a single deficiency in common: they weren’t intended to transmit large amounts of data.
About 22 percent of our members access the internet via digital subscriber line (DSL) because it is the best, or only, solution available to them. Reliability is a common complaint with DSL internet service because the technology is limited by basic physics. Information on copper-based lines can only travel about two or three miles before resistance causes the signal to degrade. DSL lines are also prone to interference from electromagnetic radiation, further reducing reliability.
The next-generation fiber optic lines we’re building today are a far superior technology. Information on fiber optic lines flow through flexible strands of pure glass at nearly the speed of light. This allows data to be sent at faster speeds over greater distances. Also, since there is no metal involved, fiber optic lines aren’t sensitive to interference and weather complications. Your second most important service aspect from the member survey was speed. Not only is fiber the fastest technology available today, it also has the highest capacity for use and significantly faster upload speeds. This matters as we continuously connect more devices and create more data.
Consider the videos you take with your smartphone, some at very high resolutions. If you’re like me, you want to back up those precious memories to a remote service in the event something would happen to the computer or external hard drive in your home. With most internet services today, your upload speed is much slower than your download speed. Therefore, if you’re uploading large amounts of data, your connection will quickly reach capacity and slow to a crawl. As we create more data and connect more devices, our upload needs are only going to increase. Fiber optic technology is the best solution to meet those needs.
- Last modified: Friday, April 27, 2018
Ron Holcomb is CEO of Tipmont REMC.