Flying Cars and Fiber Optics: How Does the U.S. Compare in Replacing Copper Lines and Increasing Internet Speeds?

It offers 1,000 times as much bandwidth over distances 100 times further than copper wires.

Back in the 1940s, we were told we’d have flying cars within the decade. People were hopeful but didn’t hold their breath.

After all, decades earlier, none other than Henry Ford had proclaimed, “Mark my word: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.”

Even as recently as 2015 CNN Money declared that 2017 would be the year of the flying car. It looks like we’ll wait a bit longer.

And what about fiber optics? Wasn’t it supposed to be the grand solution that would forever free us from twiddling our thumbs because of slow Internet connections? A decade ago, three out of every four Americans were online. By then, broadband connectivity fed our appetite for speed and over the top video drove up our appetite for ever increasing bandwidth.

It’s fast, but…

Your cable company might be the connection you have to the Internet. Or, it could be your phone company. People tend not only to shop for the best price for internet service but for the highest available bandwidth as well.

Don’t be so quick to think you’re on top of things with your speedy connection. Compared to the rest of the world, the United States doesn’t even rank in the top five for the fastest Internet speeds. It probably doesn’t surprise you that prosperous Asian countries such as Singapore, South Korea, and Japan have the fastest connectivity.   In fact the U.S. just broke into the top 10 in early 2017.

So much faster!

Did you know that as recently as the 3Q 2016, Latvia had an average internet speed higher than the U.S.?

There’s data at the speed of light with fiber optics. Then there’s data at the speed of—well, fast…but nowhere close to the speed of fiber optic transmission.  Way back when, all we needed the phone network to deliver was voice and copper was a wise choice.  The network and multiplexing hierarchy were all built around successfully carrying a 64 Kbps voice call.  That all changed when the internet took off and data usage began to grow.

So much more expensive!

It is important to remember that the United States is a large land mass with some rural areas boasting a population density of less than a person per square mile. The cost of running fiber to the home when there are precious few homes passed by a fiber run can make it a very expensive proposition.  So it is no wonder that the U.S. lags some other countries in average internet speed when copper still rules the day for a portion of the population.  In fact, many of those rural areas are opting to offer fixed internet service using 4G wireless instead of laying fiber.

Remember those Asian countries mentioned earlier? One of them, South Korea was the first country to complete the upgrade from dial-up internet to broadband, having completed it in 2005.

The Good News is That the Fiber Gap is Shrinking

While we may not yet have flying cars, the good news is that The U.S. Fiber Gap (defined as commercial buildings not lit with fiber) continued to narrow in 2015 as business fiber penetration in commercial buildings grew to 46.2%.  This is according to the latest research from Vertical Systems Group.

This benchmark figure quantifies fiber-connected multi-tenant and company-owned buildings in the U.S. with twenty or more employees, which equates to more than two million individual business establishments.

Sufficient and dependable throughput increases in importance as more businesses move their services (including voice) to the Cloud.

At nexVortex we have been delivering cloud communication services for over 11 years and one thing we focus on when working with our channel partners on opportunities is to ensure that the businesses being served have sufficient bandwidth to handle both voice and data needs.

We encourage all partners   to run a speed test (as part of their “best practices”) so that any requirement for increased internet bandwidth is addressed with the business customer as part of the pre-sales qualification.    To learn about our services contact us today.