Powering Communities: 10 Benefits of Fiber Internet For Our Communities
First came DSL, then cable, and now fiber as the most sought-after connectivity solution for its speed, reliability and ability to power bandwidth- intensive applications, like streaming and gaming. With 68 million locations now connected to fiber in the U.S. alone (hello, speed!), major providers and services like Fidium keep you connected with the latest and greatest fiber tech.
But what's the big deal about fiber access specifically? Fiber makes it possible to stream, play, learn and access vital services from your home. Small businesses benefit by accessing payment systems, connecting employees and gaining uninterrupted connectivity (video conference, anyone?).
Fiber optic internet delivers faster speeds because it doesn't depend on electrical signals. Instead, it uses light signals that travel incredibly fast and don't degrade over long distances. This allows fiber to power communities and provide instant connectivity - literally at the speed of light.
But let's not think of it in terms of cables and wires and routers. Believe it or not, fiber internet has community benefits felt far beyond the four walls of your home or office. It can bring better education, employment and healthcare opportunities for all. Let's count down the top 10 benefits of fiber internet for our communities.
1: Lightning-fast speeds enable working from home
2: Fiber access = better real estate values
3: Connectivity attracts new businesses
4: Enhanced learning opportunities unlocked
5: Nothing to fear when setting a doctor's appointment
6: Fiber creates more and better job opportunities
7: Infrastructure that can weather the effects of climate change
8: Household unity like you've never seen before
9: Everybody in the community wins with fiber
10: Breaking down the digital divide
1. Lightning-fast speeds enable working from home
The arrival of the pandemic brought a three-word phrase into our collective lives that's here to stay: working from home. Nearly three years removed from the onset of the pandemic, homes remain the permanent workplace for a large population of workers. So don't worry, you won't have to say goodbye to your sweatpants anytime soon! Working from home fun fact: 58% of Americans (the equivalent of 92 million people) now have the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week, while 35% have the option to do so full-time.
And what's one of the biggest services that makes it possible for our abodes to become the new personal corporate headquarters? Fiber internet.
As previously mentioned, one of the most touted benefits of fiber is its speed. With lightning-fast gig speeds, fiber makes file sharing, video conferencing, emailing and file downloads much easier and quicker for workers. Symmetrical upload and download speeds are another benefit of fiber that minimizes lag and allows us to transmit and receive information at equal rates. That's what we call a win-win!
2. Fiber access = better real estate values
Low crime rate, great schools and … fiber internet? It's true that a locale's internet access is now among the top factors that make it an ideal place to put down roots. Therefore, towns lacking in speed and access won't make it to the top of "Best Places to Live and Work" lists anytime soon. Importantly, home values may fluctuate as a result.
Past reporting from the FTTH Council (now known as the Fiber Broadband Association [FBA]) showed that access to 1 Gig fiber could add 3.1% to a home's value. Sale prices were 7 percent higher for homes where 1 Gig broadband was available than areas with broadband speeds of 25 Mbps or lower.
Likewise, access to fiber broadband in multiple dwelling units increases rental values by 8 percent and overall values of those properties by 2.8 percent, the FBA notes.
3. Connectivity attracts new businesses
Fiber has major implications for your community's economic growth, so let's get down to business. According to the FBA, there's evidence that fiber connectivity encourages businesses to "bloom where they're planted." Meaning companies are more likely to stay where they are, grow and become more productive if they have access to the best connectivity. It also attracts new businesses to those fiber-enabled locations.
Similar to how fiber directly impacts real estate values, a business's decision to put down roots in a particular area relies in part on fiber. Especially when we talk about global or national corporations, connectivity is as important of a consideration today as an educated workforce, airport proximity and tax breaks. In other words, fiber is a vital economic driver for your community.
What happens if connectivity is lacking? Goodbye productivity! You might be surprised to learn that small- and medium-sized businesses lost a whopping $40B in productivity due to internet outages in 2020. Our checkbooks hurt just thinking about it, but back to fiber. Fiber connections are considered more resilient than some other forms of connections, making them a sought after service for SMBs that makes video conferencing, guest WiFi, payment processing, file sharing, connecting to the cloud and CRM management possible.
Now seems like an apt time to tell you that you can learn more about Fidium@Work here.
4. Enhanced learning opportunities unlocked
When students and teachers moved to hybrid learning in the early days of the pandemic, the Office of Educational Technology aptly described the shift "turned what was once a 'homework gap' into a 'learning opportunity gap.'"
A combination of federal, state and local initiatives, including the E-Rate program, have helped schools make great strides in connectivity, with a reported 99% of schools covered according to a 2019 survey – and then came the pandemic (cue the ominous music). Households suddenly needed the connectivity rates schools had achieved, and the issue of access gaps are still being resolved.
Fiber stands to make the biggest impact for home learning. It makes interactive exercises possible; provides seamless access to materials, lesson plans and homework assistance; reduces traditional school supply costs; and enables video learning. Not to mention delivering the world to students' doorsteps. Popularized activities like museum tours grant front row access to locations like the Louvre to students millions of miles away.
Colleges and universities take similar experiences one step further with virtual reality learning, connected classrooms and labs, and networks that support IoT device learning. Fiber-enabled campuses maintain these device-heavy rich learning experiences even when students might be taking their classes from across campus as part of a hybrid learning environment.
5. Nothing to fear when setting a doctor's appointment
Dreaded doctor's office visits got a lot easier during the pandemic thanks to telehealth appointments. This increasingly popular eHealth option brought life-saving and vital health services to people when making the trek to the hospital or doctor's office was risky or impossible.
In 2021, 37% of adults used telemedicine in the prior 12 months, and a different study shows telehealth appointments jumped by 50% or more when examining pre- and post-pandemic trends. With the continuing prevalence of telehealth appointments, doctors' offices and hospitals are focusing on closing connectivity gaps to deliver these services as effectively as possible, and homes are leveling up their connectivity, too.
Fiber is the necessary bedrock to providing web presence for doctors and connecting operations to the cloud so that patient information remains secure. Healthcare access represents another way that fiber is powering communities through reliable, redundant, low-latency networks.
6. Fiber creates more and better job opportunities
Something we might dislike even more than doctor's appointments? We'd have to say searching for a job. Who likes formatting their resume anyway?
Luckily this is another example of fiber coming to our rescue. Believe it or not, finding a job becomes easier in fiber-enabled communities. And it's not just because we have more job search sites at our fingertips. Think back to #3 on our list: business growth. Cities and towns with reliable internet are more likely to attract businesses, leading to higher job growth in those areas.
Plus, in addition to direct jobs that might be created as a result of new network builds, indirect job growth is usually even bigger. As a result of more jobs going fully remote, workers with reliable fiber access gain access to opportunities that aren't right outside their backdoor or reliant on a daily commute.
7. Infrastructure that can weather the effects of climate change
We mentioned earlier that fiber optics are made from glass, which is made from sand–and luckily, there's plenty of grains to go around. According to the FBA, the manufacturing process for fiber optic cables uses less energy and pollution than creating copper cables, which require extraction of copper from its ore.
Additionally, we can think of fiber networks' environmentally friendliness in terms of how network designs will help us weather some of the effects of climate change. As extreme storms threaten critical IT infrastructure, operators must prepare their networks by exploring risk assessment, network design, route redundancy and alternate power sources.
Fiber presents advantages and benefits in all of these areas. Additionally, it is setting communities up for success now for what are expected to be more intense and frequent climate-related disasters later.
8. Household unity like you've never seen before
Long gone are the days of dial-up internet access when you'd have to tussle with family members over who got to use the single connection. Instead, today's families of streamers, gamers, and remote workers and learners are more likely to have gripes about who's hogging all the bandwidth.
That's why we consider fiber to be a uniter of households with its ability to support nearly unlimited devices without lag. So when you need to chat with your smart home device, check your smart watch, pop on your smart TV, adjust the smart thermostat and turn on your laptop all at once, give a little round of applause to fiber.
9. Everybody in the community wins with fiber
Access to affordable broadband has life changing and life affirming effets, determining how communities work, play, educate and care for residents and business owners. Not to get too sappy on you, but it's true that in many ways it is now the glue that bonds communities.
Fiber enables communities to think big, build and dream of what's possible knowing they have the infrastructure available to enable unlimited opportunities.
"High-quality broadband has become more important to consumers every year. Fiber broadband exceeds all other types of delivery in every single measurement of broadband quality, including speeds, uptime, latency, jitter, and power consumption," says Gary Bolton, president and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. "For the consumer this has real-world impacts, like more productivity, better access to health care and education, more entrepreneurism, and the option of more rural living. For society, this means more sustainability and, ultimately, digital equity."
10. Breaking down the digital divide
Fiber is coming to thousands of communities and if it's not already in your area, it's likely to be available soon.
Fidium Fiber is bringing hundreds of thousands of locations up to speed, affording smaller communities the types of learning, living and working opportunities that are often only afforded to their big city neighbors.
The social returns on investment for broadband in rural markets is significant, allowing online education, job opportunities and community development and economic growth that can lead to higher property values, increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation, and lower unemployment rates, according to the Brookings Institute.
If you're looking for an affordable way to connect your business or want to know more about upgrading your home to fiber, Fidium Fiber has you covered. With gigabit speeds and pocket-friendly price points, we're connecting homes in California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont to fiber service that powers communities.