Unless you’ve lived under a very large, very remote rock for the last decade, you’ve probably heard of fibre optic network communications (or just fibre to the layman).
You may even know a bunch of people who enjoy fibre and feel as though your area is the last place on earth to get it.
We get asked frequently why fibre coverage is practically non-existent in certain areas, so today we’ll share our thoughts on why there is such a gap between fibre and FLTE (Fixed wireless broadband) availability.
Before we jump into why you only get certain products in certain areas, let’s discuss the difference between fibre and FLTE.
Both fibre and FLTE have been around for over half a century. So, how do they differ?
The infrastructure used to support FLTE was originally designed for voice communication (think back to dial-up internet) and, as such, transfers information using analogue (or wavelengths).
FLTE essentially refers to the method with which data (digital information) is converted and sent over analogue infrastructure and then converted back once it reaches its recipient.
Fibre on the other hand makes use of completely new infrastructure – glass.
Fibre optics was designed with digital information in mind and makes use of light rather than sound.
This offers two distinct advantages. The first advantage is the speed difference between light and sound.
The second is how the data is “packaged” and delivered – fibre allowing a more organic method of transfer (data can stay in digital form/ code).
So, now that we know the difference between the two, let’s get back to the topic on hand; why do you only get certain products in certain areas?
As we mentioned, fibre runs on completely new infrastructure, while FLTE piggybacks existing infrastructure (though some new developments have been made to improve the overall performance of FLTE internet).
This means that fibre optic networks need to be built from scratch. The cost of building these networks can be excessive, with some projects costing hundreds of millions of Rands.
FNO’s (Fibre Network Owners) must conduct what is known as feasibility research, which helps them identify whether they would see a return on their investment in a given area.
If the cost of installing the infrastructure outweighs the potential revenue in the area, the ISP must choose to either establish FLTE support to provide coverage or “rent” portions of fibre infrastructure from other ISPs.
As demand for fibre grows and new technology makes fibre more financially accessible, the feasibility of providing a larger fibre coverage will become the norm, but for now, FLTE remains the most affordable, widespread service available.
That said, exciting new product offerings are rapidly making their way to market and bridging this gap.
Airfibre, for example, exists in the sweet spot between fibre optics and FLTE and makes high speed internet accessible to previously underserved consumers at FLTE competitive prices.
Supersonic’s recently launched Unlimited Airfibre is a new wireless offering promises consistent download speeds, low latency, and uncapped data.
We hope that we’ve given you some useful information. If you found this helpful, hit share!