Broadband internet wars

Fibre optic broadband

Fibre optic internet service is making inroads into territories previously dominated by cable.

As many people explore their high speed internet options, they’re discovering this cable alternative and they have questions. Is fibre optic internet better than cable internet?

Does it offer benefits over the established high speed service?  We’re entering the age of faster, more affordable internet.

We’re constantly increasing our presence on the web and thus our demand for speed and reliability. 

As consumers, when faced with the choice between fibre optic internet and cable internet, it’s a choice that’s not clear. They want to know how they can get the most out of their connection to the internet and they can be picky.

What’s ideal for streaming movies and TV shows or high definition content? Downloading? Gaming?

Cable

For years, cable has been the primary, if not only, high speed option. Depending on the area and the internet service provider, cable internet speed for residential use is usually advertised between 3 Mbps and 50 Mbps.

The keyword in this case is 'advertised'. Oftentimes, especially during peak hours in the late afternoon and evening, cable internet subscribers can be susceptible to decreased speeds.

Many tech and internet enthusiasts consider fibre optic internet the wave of the digital future

This tactic is designed to help prevent outage issues for customers. For customers who live in the same neighbourhood using the same service, this may be a more noticeable issue as they share allocated bandwidth.

Essentially, it’s fairly common to not receive the speed the ISP advertised consistently. 

However, cable internet is readily available in many areas since it’s delivered over coaxial cable lines. Much of the infrastructure is already in place and it makes home service much easier than the alternative. 

Fibre optic

Many tech and internet enthusiasts consider fibre optic internet the wave of the digital future. Fibre optic is capable of delivering incredibly fast speeds, though for residential customers, ISPs commonly quote speeds between 1.5 Mbps and 50 Mbps.

Much like cable, fibre speeds can be scaled beyond the standard offerings and typically even beyond what cable is capable of. In terms of what’s available to residential customers, the speed will be relatively comparable. 

Since fibre optic internet is still the newer option, its major hindrance is availability. It’s still significantly limited in comparison to cable. Plus, in areas where it is available, its installation may be more involved, depending on the type of service.

If customers want fibre up to their homes, it may require the laying new line, under or above ground. 

A stalemate?

Between the two, there really isn’t a clear winner, at least not yet. For the time being, and for those who have the choice of cable and fibre, they’re fairly comparable in speed.

As for pricing, that can be tougher to pin down, since it can vary wildly in different markets. Ultimately, it comes down to researching what’s available and making individual comparisons.

In the future, once fibre optic has become a true mainstream internet option, then we may be able to determine a winner in the battle for fast internet.

 

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