What is Fiber Internet?

Updated: Apr. 11, 2022

Feel the need for speed? Learn more about the fastest tech in home internet.

Fiber internet is the next evolution in home internet, promising faster speeds and more reliable connections. Currently 43 percent of households in the U.S. have access to fiber internet, and the technology is gradually expanding into more and more areas.

Here’s what you need to know about the growing network of fiber internet, and how it could make slow internet connections a thing of the past.

What is Fiber Internet?

Fiber internet gets its name from the special fiber-optic cables it employs to send data up to ten or more times faster than traditional DSL or cable internet connections. These underground cables create a massive, sprawling network.

Unfortunately, these cables aren’t like the cables that traditionally provide homes with internet connections. So fiber internet requires new infrastructure, which is time-consuming and expensive to create.

The first fiber-optic networks were introduced in the U.S. in the early 2000s, but the prohibitive cost of laying the cables limited its potential growth. Even with the backing of massive conglomerates like AT&T and Alphabet, fiber has struggled to make much headway outside of urban centers.

How Fast is Fiber Internet?

One of the main advantages of fiber internet is its quick and consistent speed.

Even the most high-end DSL or cable internet connections typically top out at around 100Mbps and 300Mbps, respectively. Fiber internet connections hit those speeds routinely and can reach up to 1,000Mbps. With speed like that, you almost never worry about buffering, lagging or dropping out of video calls.

How Expensive is Fiber Internet?

The cost of fiber internet depends on available services. Usually, though, plans with speeds of more than 500Mbps run from $50 to $100 a month.

In most cases, fiber internet connections are not much more expensive than DSL or cable connections — and sometimes they’re even cheaper. With the benefits that come with fiber internet, it could be worth it to upgrade.