Why Do Small Businesses Need Fiber Internet
There is a lot of talk these days about “fiber”, but what does it mean for small businesses? The short answer is: less downtime, more speed, and lower latency. Let’s dive a little deeper into that.
How It Works
Fiber optic cable transmits light, but not electricity. Light is not “faster” than electricity. However, the usable frequency band in coaxial cable is between 5-1200 MHz, whereas fiber operates between 175-250 THz. That’s about 75,000 times the bandwidth. Since we only use a fraction of that spectrum, all the fiber installed today will continue to get faster as technology improves.
Fiber optic cable has been around since the mid 1960s. In 1968, NASA used it in the television cameras they sent to the moon. By the 1980s, fiber was being used extensively to build telecommunications networks all over the country, and today more than 110,000 miles of fiber have been deployed in the United States alone. However, in 2022, most homes and businesses are connected via cable, telephone, or via wireless and satellite dishes. Why don’t we all have fiber by now?
The Last Mile Problem
Imagine you ran a railroad, and your task was to collect passengers from their homes. You would probably build a few lines between major cities with busy terminals at each end. To reach more destinations, you now need to build dozens of smaller branch lines, going to all the small towns around the cities. This costs a lot, but it is worth it because each branch picks up many passengers. But you still haven’t reached the passengers at their homes – they will need to walk, ride a bike, catch a taxi, or use public transportation to get to their local terminal. This is the “last mile” problem; getting all the way to the customer’s location typically requires more effort and different solutions.
Internet providers face the same challenge. Even though your data comes most of the way by fiber, it probably travels over cable or telephone lines for the last few miles. Until recently, it would have been impossible to build fiber to each customer’s location. Cities are typically the first candidates for fiber installation, and only recently has there been a push to extend fiber networks out to more rural areas.
Fiber to the X
Recent technological improvements and cost reductions in fiber have allowed a new approach. Passive Optical Networking (PON) allows fiber to branch out and reach customers directly. Many ISPs are using terms like “Fiber to the Home” (FTTH) “Fiber to the Premise” (FTTP) or generically “Fiber to the X” (FTTx), which all mean roughly the same thing – fiber all the way, instead of coaxial cable or copper phone lines for the last few miles. This reduces maintenance, saves costs, and increases reliability and speeds for the end user. It is however a major investment to build, and it may be many years before fiber can reach all the homes in rural America.
Fiber from Broadlinc
Broadlinc does not yet offer residential fiber services, but we are pleased to offer fiber connections to our local businesses. This can make a big difference to your customers. If you take credit card payments, offer customer support by phone, run high speed transactions or need large amounts of bandwidth for streaming and videoconferencing, consider the advantages of fiber service.
Many of our local businesses have opted for a fiber connection because of the reliability and speed. When high uptime is critical for your business, consider that our fiber connections do not go offline from cable maintenance, electrical outages, or lightning strikes. The only time it could go offline is from major physical damage like a utility pole breaking or a rogue backhoe operator digging it up. These events are very rare, in fact we have had customers with years of uptime
A fiber optic connection is the highest quality service available. While our residential cable offerings are very good, you simply cannot match the low latency and high stability of a fiber link. Other Broadlinc customers’ usage will not affect your link, and the lack of downtime means happy customers and more money in your pocket.
Written By Chris Saenz, IT & Business Support
Employee Spotlight: Chris Townsend
Chris Townsend is the Technical Support Manager at Broadlinc working out of the Owenton office. He is responsible for overseeing all technical support operations and ensuring that our customers are taken care of when they have service issues.
Q & A with Chris
How long have you been with Broadlinc?
I started with the company June 2018.
What brought you to the company?
During that time, I lost my job and saw a job posting on Facebook for the company. I brought my resume in and met with the owner and our VP, TJ Scott, and was hired the next week.
Can you take us through a day in the life at Broadlinc?
My job is to ensure that our customers are taken care of if/when they have service issues. I have an amazing team that works under me that helps me handle everyday tasks. Normally, I start my day by catching up from emails/voicemails regarding service issues, making sure we have the correct technicians dispatching for the correct issues, and working closely with my team to communicate issues to customers and the company. Some days are more hectic than others, but it all depends on mother nature’s mood that day.
What do you like most about being a Technical Support Manager?
I like how every day presents a new challenge for my team and me. We like to have a good challenge to correct every now and then!
How would you describe the culture at Broadlinc?
Coming from a factory setting for almost 5 years to an office setting was a big adjustment for me. I will say the company is so inviting and friendly. We look at our coworkers as family and not just a coworker. You really don’t find this type of culture in many jobs today.
What do you like most about working at Broadlinc?
I love how each day brings a new challenge, the friendly work environment and our close nit company culture.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my free time, I enjoy watching a good documentary on TV or just going out for a country drive on the backroads.
How would your family or friends describe you in three words?
Kind, courteous and caring.
Tell us something most people would be surprised to learn about you.
I am a true crime junkie. Anything and everything associated with true crime, you will find me there.
If can have an unlimited supply of one thing, what would it be and why?
Let’s face it, anyone who knows me would answer it as I would and that would be COFFEE! You can never have too much coffee.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
From a YouTuber I used to watch, “Sometimes you have to slow down to go fast”. To be a leader you must slow down and take the time to sharpen your skills to be able to “go fast” in a situation when it’s needed. Sometimes I will get a new software for new technology Broadlinc is deploying and I must slow down and take the time to get to know the software before I am able to teach my team, so we can have a faster customer response to issues.