Is building a fiber-optics community too ambitious for the American Dream?

Chennou Xiong
Posted 1/29/20

In America, we strive to be always connected, and we expect quality internet services. Whether that be from streaming another season of The Office for the fourth time in a row to asking Alexa how to …

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Is building a fiber-optics community too ambitious for the American Dream?

Posted

In America, we strive to be always connected, and we expect quality internet services. Whether that be from streaming another season of The Office for the fourth time in a row to asking Alexa how to start a business plan.

Today fast and reliable internet is a must for both rural and urban America. It is no longer a luxury good.

At the moment, there are three realities that exist for internet services in America.

Reality No. 1: Across the country, millions of Americans young and old rely on broadband internet. Although broadband internet is reliable, it’s not the best — and it’s outdated.

Reality No. 2: Technology is always advancing, and fiber-optics internet is the best and fastest way to deliver the internet in America today.

Reality No. 3: As an internet user and customer you shouldn’t be paying $40 to $70 for outdated technology and slower speeds.

You may ask what is fiber-optics? Fiber-optics is defined as an internet line that transfers data through light instead of electricity. Fiber-optic cables do not use copper. Also, fiber-optic cables are literally 100 times faster than your current broadband internet services.

For example, Meeker, Colorado recently just updated its internet infrastructure to fiber-optics. Residents in the small rural town of Meeker can download a movie faster than the urbanites living in Denver, Colorado.

How much faster you may ask? A two-hour movie can be downloaded within 30 seconds using fiber-optics.

But why should anyone demand an upgrade when their broadband services are reliable? According to author Bruce Kushnick, executive director at New Networks Institute, in his book “The Book of Broken Promises,” telecommunication companies and state governments charge service fees you have paid every month amounting to $400 billion, and all customers were promised speeds up to 1,000 Mbps by 2010.

It is now 2020, and according to Century Link, fiber-optic internet is the newest and fastest way to receive internet services. Yet nearly 75% of Americans lack access to fiber-optic internet.

Having access to fiber-optics internet is the key to staying competitive in a digital and global world. When you have access to the fastest and most reliable internet, you have the potential to increase your productivity and overall make your life easier.

When society has invested billions of dollars into telecommunication infrastructure, it is not a matter if you should upgrade, but why haven’t you upgraded. Maybe, it’s because the telecommunication companies are slow at rolling out the fiber-optic cable lines or a lack of funds.

Whatever, the case you can have access to fiber-optics by getting involved in the discussion. First, reach out to your telecommunication company and ask if you have access to fiber-optics. Second, reach out to your local city council members and attend technology and infrastructure meetings. Politely, bring up the discussion upgrading to fiber-optics.

You as a consumer and resident have power. Residents of the City of Fort Collins recently passed a ballot measure that upgraded their telecommunication infrastructure from broadband copper lines to fiber-optics. Fort Collins also took ownership of their digital destiny into their own hands by creating a public option internet service industry called Connexion. All residents of Fort Collins can now have access to gigabit-speed internet for work or school.

America and your community can lead the world in both top internet speeds and the percentage of people who have access to reliable internet. Gaining access to fiber-optics won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Like President John F. Kennedy once said, “…We choose to do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

It is a part of the national character to reach for the stars.

Chennou Xiong is a residential tech user and an MPA student at the University of Colorado at Denver. He serves as an alternate member of the Westminster Planning Commission.

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