From more bandwidth to smoother video calls to higher speeds supporting multiple devices in the home, you’ve heard that fiber can make a big difference in the way you experience the internet.

Trouble is, it’s not in your neighborhood yet, and you aren’t sure when it’s coming.

So how do you find out? What does it take to get it? Can you do anything to hurry it along?

Here are answers to your important questions.

Why isn’t fiber service in every community throughout the country?

Internet service providers deploy fiber, bringing it from their connection node or central network office to individual homes. This is called Fiber to the Home (FTTH). There are many factors that go into a provider’s decision to install fiber and then to carry out the process. It’s not so simple. Here’s what’s considered:

  • Budget – Fiber is very expensive to deploy and install, not just for the fiber itself, but also for the equipment that is in central offices and out in field stations. Making the decision to introduce fiber to a new development (a greenfield) or to an older established area (a brownfield) is based on a calculation of the percentage of households that will order the new service. Also taken into account is the future profitability, and that involves a projection of the number of households that will adopt fiber and then maintain the service.
  • Geography – Providers need to study the challenges posed by topography, mountains and rural or remote locations
  • Proximity – Related to geography, providers primarily target areas for expansion that are relatively near to existing fiber infrastructure to reduce the funding needed for construction. (This varies by provider and geography, of course.) 
  • Workforce – Deploying fiber involves a large number of people and the coordination of many teams. Independent contractors do most of the fiber path creation and digging, while employees of the local provider do the finishing touches and connecting of customers to the network.

How can I bring fiber to my community?

Do your research online to see which internet provider(s) near you install fiber. Then contact them to request a serviceability study. All of the factors listed above (from budget to proximity) will determine if you can indeed get fiber service. The more residents you enlist to request fiber service, the better. (See Budget above.)

The provider will make an evaluation to determine what’s possible and the best solution.

Once deployment begins, how long does it take?

Ideally, once the construction crews come in and you see yard signs, you’re about two to three months, possibly more, from the launch date to “fiber ready.” That schedule, of course, is subject to many factors from weather to installation obstacles to permissions snags.

Providers are working to make neighborhoods fiber ready

Many service providers report that they add new fiber-eligible addresses weekly. Stay up to date on progress in your area and areas close to you. Keep in mind that no area will ever be 100% fiber. It’s important to be patient and realistic, while doing what you can to request fiber service. Once you get it, enjoy the performance.