You've probably heard the term Fiber to the Home, or perhaps your community is currently or has recently been upgraded to fiber. What exactly does Fiber to the Home mean and why is it such a big deal?
Fiber to the Home (commonly abbreviated as FTTH) is the delivery of a communications signal over optical fiber from the operator’s equipment all the way to a home or business, thereby replacing existing copper infrastructure such as telephone wires or coaxial cable. Fiber to the Home is a relatively new and fast growing method of providing greater bandwidth to consumers and businesses, and thereby enabling more robust Video, Internet and Phone services.
You may be asking yourself what is the difference between optical fiber and copper coaxial cable? Optical fiber is a hair-thin strand of glass, specifically designed to trap and transmit light pulses. The fiber uses light instead of electricity to carry a signal. It is unique because it can carry high bandwidth signals over long distances without signal degradation, and it can provide those signals simultaneously in both directions – upload and download. Copper media can also carry high bandwidth, but only for a few hundred yards – after which the signal begins to degrade and bandwidth narrows.
Diving deeper, let's determine the benefit of fiber optics to each home verses the existing delivery method for our Video, Internet and Phone services via copper coaxial. The benefit is that each home has its own dedicated fiber connection. It is not a shared network, like that which exists with copper coaxial. As your utilization of the Internet increases and your bandwidth demands grow, a shared network becomes a more limiting factor. Increasingly, additional video programming is being streamed via the Internet (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu), which means your bandwidth needs will be growing exponentially in the near future. Your existing copper-based, shared network will simply be unable to perform at the levels of a FTTH network. With a FTTH installation, you will receive your dedicated bandwidth no matter what the time of day or day of week. Unlike your existing copper-based, shared network today, other residents signing onto the Internet will not impact the level of service you receive.
Additionally, the innovation of Internet applications and services will continue to accelerate as high-definition video, telemedicine, distance learning, telecommuting and many other broadband applications come to market. Fiber to the Home delivers the bandwidth needed to support these innovations.