Railroad tracks, highways and fiber networks are considered life-changing projects for the United States. By 1900, much of our nation’s railroad system was in place; it cleared the way for the settlement of the West, provided new economic opportunities and stimulated the development of communities. In the 1950s and 1960s, the new Interstate Highway System brought business to the towns it went through, while towns far from the new faster roads struggled to survive. Today, fiber networks have become as essential to business growth, and everyday life in general, as railroad tracks and highways were in the previous century.
The huge impact of fiber is even more amazing when you consider just how tiny fiber is; each strand of glass is only about the size of a human hair. Fiber uses light to transmit data and is unique in its ability to transport virtually unlimited bandwidth over long distances. It’s the only technology that delivers enough bandwidth – reliably and at a low enough cost – to meet the ever-increasing demand for more robust internet, video and voice services.
When fiber networks come to smaller cities and rural communities, it helps level the playing field and close the urban-rural technology gap.
- Existing businesses can access the internet speeds and reliability needed to develop or expand e-commerce.
- Economic development organizations have an easier time attracting new businesses.
- Patients can conveniently and efficiently access medical services through online telemedicine programs or video conferencing software.
- Educational opportunities for students, once only found in large schools, can be delivered to rural classrooms via online education.
- Working and e-learning from home becomes effortless.