WHAT IS FIBER-OPTIC CABLE?
Fiber is the future of communications technology. Fiber optic cable contains strands of optically pure glass, thinner than a human hair, which carry digital information over long distances. Digital signals are sent as pulses of light down the glass fibers, without interference or limitation. This digital transport system is faster, clearer, more reliable, and will give you the bandwidth to access the digital communications services of the future, and today’s IP-based broadband apps such as 4K HD digital streaming TV , VOIP, video conferencing, home automation and security systems, remote appliance management, and residential internet speeds up to 1 Gig per second.
To see details on current pricing for fiber to the home broadband internet service,click here.
Fiber Technology and Your Future
In the coming months you will see our crews working in your neighborhood. These are exciting times for our company and our customers. We are building more fiber routes every day, all over southeast Idaho. We just installed a new all-digital switch, built for the information age, that runs on Internet Protocol. We have access to as much bandwidth on our fiber backbone as we need through Syringa Networks, and currently operate a 10 Gig redundant fiber ring that connects all of the little towns in southeast Idaho. We want you to enjoy your time online. We want you to be able to work from home if you choose. If you are not with Direct Communications, your local broadband company, you are missing out on being part of the best broadband network in the state.
We are now in the process of steadily upgrading older neighborhoods that were previously on copper, to fiber. Arbon is complete. Rockland is complete. We have a 5-year plan to convert all of our exchange areas in Bear Lake to 100% fiber to the home. This is obviously going to be an enormous project, requiring millions in investment dollars, but we feel that each person in our rural exchange areas deserves fiber to the home.
Outside of our traditional telephone exchange areas, we are also expanding our fiber network in almost every town in southeast Idaho, primarily by building first to hospitals, schools, libraries, and businesses large and small. Constructing routes to these commercial operations also opens up paths to bring fiber to the surrounding neighborhoods. We are also building fiber to the home in previously underserved areas like Aberdeen, American Falls, and Pleasant Valley, which had almost no good internet options at all, and will soon have the best Internet in the world.
This is our community too, and we are committed to ensuring the economic vibrancy of our rural towns. We at Direct Communications want to help provide a great quality of life for all of our customers. I see fiber optic cable as being non-negotiable to ensure the economic future of rural America, not just for our customers, but also for us to stay relevant as a communications provider. Some politicians in Washington feel that rural Americans don’t need as much speed as people in cities. I would argue that rural folks need high speed internet even more than their city counterparts because we are so remote, and fiber is the only way you can push a good, unlimited broadband signal out far enough to reach all of our customers. Having access to unlimited broadband is the future to economic development and personal educational opportunity in this global information economy.
Please be patient with us as we roll out this plan to bring you better broadband service. In the meantime, go ahead and pre-register for fiber optic service so that we know you want it at your home. The more people who register from an area, the more likely we will be to go there first.
General Manager, Direct Communications
The Fiber Optic Advantages Are Clear
The fastest connection speed known to man – up into the gigabits. We currently offer an unmatched 1 Gigabit per second symmetrical residential speed to our customers, and up to 10 Gig for commercial customers.
Fiber to the home uses a pure Ethernet connection back to your ISP, without needing intermediate equipment like a modem. This results in a much more stable, reliable service, which means no downtime for you. Fiber to the home virtually eliminates most equipment issues, and downtime typically experienced by internet subscribers.
Unlimited carrying capacity means NO CAPS. The bandwidth, like speed is only limited by the processing power of the electronics on each end of the fiber. We will never cap your data usage, or throttle your speeds. Stream as much video as you like without ever worrying about overages.
Unlike copper, there is no resistance in the fiber optic cable, so the signal can travel much further distances. This means we can now serve even the most remote customers in our rural areas.
Because it’s literally light being transmitted, there is no interference from electromagnetic noise such as radios, motors, power lines, or other nearby cables. This means a clearer signal and better broadband connection for you. Even lighting strikes, which can be transmitted by copper cabling, are not transmitted by fiber-optic cable.
Fiber optic cables costs less to maintain than traditional copper lines, saving us all time and money.
Frequently asked questions:
How will a fiber connection improve my life?
Faster Speeds. Increased Reliability. Unlimited bandwidth. This is the most advanced method on the planet to deliver high-speed internet. Fiber is a great economic leveler for rural residents. Your home will have the same advanced connectivity as the most high-tech building in any major financial district in the world. Imagine a world where you can stream HD video to as many devices simultaneously as you want to without any buffering. Imagine a world where your internet service never goes down, and you never have to waste time calling tech support. This perfect connection can be yours with fiber optic cable. The fiber line running to your home from the main cable contains just a few strands of fiber, but those strands could theoretically carry all the information in the Western USA. We have the ability to provide up to 1 Gig per second to each home in the network. Fiber-optic cable carries an all-digital signal, and is better suited to today’s digital communication devices. Fiber optics are the future of communications, because both copper and wireless will eventually max out on the bandwidth people will require. Eventually, all media will be delivered as internet data. You will be ready for that future.
Do I need a modem with Fiber-to-the-home internet service?
No. Your fiber connection does not require a modem. Just plug your computer network cable directly into our optical network device, (ONT) mounted on the outside of your home, and you will be instantly connected directly to our network via pure ethernet.
Does my home need to be wired differently to take advantage of fiber-to-the-home?
The new fiber ONT separates the phone and internet signal, so they will need to travel over separate wires inside your home. We will run a new Cat5 cable into your home and install our service to one phone jack and one ethernet jack at a convenient location inside your home, so that you can hook up your phone, and computer or router.
Is a fiber network more expensive to build than copper?
The price of fiber optic cable is now comparable to copper. The real expense with fiber is in the advanced electronics. The ONT (optical network device) that fits onto the outside of the home, is very expensive, because it’s a far more sophisticated system than the old copper devices. However, there is less maintenance required on a fiber network than copper, so over the years, it will save us, and our customers, a lot of money.
Will I be charged for the installation of fiber to my home?
No. If you live within our phone service area, we usually cover the full cost of the construction of the fiber and installing the new equipment on your home to connect the fiber. We will also waive the final service installation fee when it comes time for you to hook up your computer to our broadband service, with a 1-year commitment. For customers outside our phone service area, where we are building out fiber, you may be asked to pay an aid-to-construction fee.
How is fiber optic cable installed?
First, we bore, or plow in plastic conduit underground, which is a good method because it has very little environmental impact. We then blow the fiber optic cable through the conduit using compressed air moving at very high speeds. The high-velocity air flow causes the cable to float, and that way we can feed it through very easily. Where the fiber needs to be spliced to serve homes, we put in handholds, or buried manholes with loops of fiber, where we can branch off and pick up those new homes in the future.
Why a buried fiber network?
Buried networks are all about Reliability, Reliability, Reliability! You can count on your fiber conenction to work, from fire, to blizzard, to windstorm. Directcom’s fiber network is 100% buried—no wireless backhauls or downed lines to worry about. In the recent wildfires that damaged or wiped out many other providers communications lines in Idaho, Direct Communications was unaffected since all of our fiber network is safely buried.
Will Fiber increase the Value of my home?
Fiber to the home could increase the value of your home by as much as $5,000, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home Council. Our investment in your home means more money in your pocket. More importantly, fiber to your home means a higher quality of life for you in this digital information age, where so much of what we do to enrich our lives has moved online. More internet speed means more fun.
Fiber will also naturally lead to more economic development in your areas due to the advanced technology and internet commerce opportunities available in the area. This is especially important in rural areas, where a gap has traditionally existed in diverse economic opportunities—but in our new information economy—fiber puts us all on the same footing.
Will fiber increase my monthly rate?
No. Your fiber upgrade will not increase your Internet or telephone rates, unless a customer chooses to upgrade their features or speed.
Will new equipment be installed at my home?
Yes. The old Network Interface Device (NID) you currently have will be replaced by a slightly larger Optical Network Terminal (ONT). The ONT coverts the optical signal to ethernet. This unit will also contain the power supply and battery back up for the electronics. The ONT requires electricity. Since fiber cannot carry an electric power charge like copper used to, a battery back-up is required to power your phone service in the event of a general power outage. This battery is designed to last for 8 or more hours, depending on phone usage. Typically, the electronics use .001 kwh per month.
Will getting fiber to my home disturb my yard or property?
Though we may sometimes be required to dig across your yard to bury a new fiber line, our goal is to treat your property as if it were our own. Often, we will have buried conduit already in place. We will be always strive to promptly restore your property to a condition as close to original as possible. However, homeowners should also understand that your lot came with legal easements registered to each home, for power, water and communications, and anything planted or built over these easements will always be in danger of being disturbed or removed by any public utility companies. Remember to always call Digline at 811 before you dig.
What should I expect during the upgrade?
Although we began several years ago laying the necessary main conduit to each neighborhood, this last phase involves placing fiber or conduit all the way to your home. We will be making our way door to door to do a site survey and to let you know when your fiber connection is ready for service. When everything is in place, we will need to schedule an appointment with you for the final hookup to the network inside your home. We will need an adult present at that time.