As fibre optic broadband becomes more and more commonplace, copper wiring is fastly becoming a thing of the past. It’s not just internet, phone companies, and cable TV companies that deal in fibre optic almost exclusively; as houses are becoming smarter homes will have full fibre optics as the norm. Industrial facilities, office parks, and university campuses are already making the switch.
How it Works
The difference between fiber optics and copper wiring, is that whereas the latter sends along electric impulses, the latter sends along light pulses. The difference in speed is incredible, with the fibre optic cables being able to send pulses of light along at speeds that can reach 1500nm.
The information that comes onto fiber optic cables starts at a transmitter, and it may receive electronic pulses from copper wire. The transmitter sends out information as coded pulses of light that are generated either by a light-emitting diode (LED) or an injection-laser diode (ILD).
As for the fibre optic cables themselves, it’s easiest to conceptualize them as tubes that are coated on the inside with a mirror. Thanks to the principle of total internal reflection allowing it to move pulses of near infrared light from one point to another continuously, even when there are bends and kinks in the cable.
The Different Kinds of Fibre Optic Broadband
To be even more specific, we can divide fibre optics into three distinct categories.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, in which copper wiring is used to connect a street level junction box to the home.
Fibre to the Cabinet, where fast fibre-optic line runs to the cabinet, but then copper wire carries the signal to the house.
This is Fiber to the Premises or full-fiber, in which everything is high speed and there is no copper cable. Moving forward, this will be the wave of the future as the other two aforementioned modes become obsolete.
Why Can’t I Get Fibre Optic Broadband
Even though fibre optic broadband is becoming more widely available, there may still be some mitigating factors that can prevent certain homeowners from installing this high speed connection. Even those in suburban areas may find that their property is too far from the closest street cabinet to have cable run out to their house. Complicated terrain and landscaping can also make it difficult
For starters, those living in remote or rural areas -areas where the still isn’t even adequate cell phone coverage- may find themselves being among the last to be able to easily access fibre optic cabling.
But being in a remote location is not the only reason why fibre optic broadband cabling may not be a possibility. It may be the case that fibre optic broadband has become so popular that the closest cable cabinet simply doesn’t have any space left for a new connection. The wiring in your home matters too, and it may be the case that it’s too old to accommodate fibre optic cabling that can transmit pulses of light at speeds that can reach 1500nm.
Between 2018 and 2019, there was an increase in 1.6 million homes that had access to high-speed internet. Still, according to the same Ofcom report, there are still 155,000 homes in rural areas in the UK that are unable to handle even a decent internet connection.
In light of this, the government has promised a whopping 5 billion pounds that will be earmarked for providing remote areas with broadband internet, and it is expected that the majority of this will consist in full-fibre broadband.