Southern Berkshire Technology Committee Bringing Broadband to Life
  • Nov

    Why Fiber Instead of DSL, cable, satellite or wireless?

    Filed under: FAQ;

    Fiber means phone, cable television, and very fast Internet over one line. One strand of fiber has hundreds and hundreds of times more bandwidth capacity than any of the last generation technologies like DSL, cable, satellite and wireless, and thus is the only one considered "future proof." These last generation technologies have limited bandwidth that will not meet the needs of emerging and future needs, like video-streaming, video conferencing, remote medical care, file sharing and cloud computing. Why build a highway based on past traffic volumes?
    Unlike the last generation technologies, fiber is also scalable. The fastest existing equipment connecting to it today does not come close to tapping its potential. As better equipment becomes available or more bandwidth is needed, upgrades are relatively simple.                                 
    Compared to copper -based DSL and cable systems, fiber is also cost-effective to install and maintain. It’s the cheapest way to bring universal, reliable service to all parts of America. It is, in fact, cheaper than the copper wires we extended to every American home 100 years ago. Also, because fiber is lashed to a high-tensile cable, it is less susceptible to breakage and weather events. As a hard-wired solution, it is not vulnerable to the shortcomings of wireless technologies.
    Like the other last generation technologies, wireless has different upload and download speeds and can be slow and unreliable. Of particular challenge to our area is that there needs to be a clear line of sight between the transmitting tower and the receiver at the residence; the very nature of the wireless signal and local topography prevent truly universal wireless coverage. Wireless is extremely useful where mobility is the top priority, but is not nearly as good or secure as optical fiber for the “heavy lifting” telecommunications requirements. The best way to use wireless is as a complement to a foundation of universal fiber which can provide multiple antenna sites and unlimited “backhaul” from these sites to the central “hub.”
     In much of the rest of the world (and urban/suburban areas of the U.S.), fiber networks to the home are already being employed or will be soon. It is important that our rural businesses, students, medical professionals and citizens can live and operate on a level playing field with the rest of the world. Just like the rural electrification initiative of the early 20th century, without the next generation fiber infrastructure, our community will be left behind as the rest of the world moves rapidly to develop and use it.
    For more information on fiber-based networks, please download “The Advantages of Fiber.”

    Advantages of Fiber  The report

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