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Maybe next year: 10 big-city busts for fiber internet

Taylor Gadsden

Oct 14, 2020 — 3 min read

Looking for a fiber connection? You may need to look elsewhere.

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Fiber is one of the most desirable connections in the internet service industry so it’s obvious why providers are rushing to bring the popular option to the masses. But if you’re looking for a 100% fiber internet provider, there are a few cities that shouldn’t be at the top of your radar. 

Take a look at some U.S. cities with the worst fiber-availability-to-sale ratio.

Our methodology

Our experts examined proprietary Allconnect sales data, FCC and U.S. census resources in order to examine 29,399 locations. We were able to estimate the number of internet providers available in each location, the number of providers that offer true fiber internet plans and the percentage of the population that has one. 

  1. Washington, DC
  2. Las Vegas, NM
  3. Durham, CT
  4. Jacksonville, AL
  5. Atlanta, GA
  6. Tucson, AZ
  7. Kissimmee, FL
  8. Humble, TX
  9. North Las Vegas, NV
  10. Naples, FL

What is fiber internet?

Fiber, or fiber optic internet, is a popular internet connection type. This reliable connection delivers the highest speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and comes without network congestion or weather disturbances that plague other connection types. Fiber networks are made up of glass cables or plastic fiber cables to create a light signal which is used to transfer data. These networks can also be more expensive for providers to establish than other connection types.

Fiber trends to watch in U.S. cities

Welcome to Atlanta…where the fiber is limited?

When it comes to network expansion, Atlanta, GA, was at the top of every fiber provider’s priority list. However, the southern hotspot still found a way into our worst-cities-for-fiber list. We’re guessing the city’s less than favorable score has something to do with the growing population and the low percentage of which actually have fiber internet service. 

There are currently almost 500,000 residents living in metro Atlanta and about 14 fiber internet providers, so when compared to a smaller town on the outskirts of the city, like Norcross (a top fiber city), Atlanta’s fiber internet user-to-provider ratio may not look so impressive. Norcross, on the other hand, has over 16,000 residents and four fiber providers in the area. 

Gig speeds vs. fiber

Fiber internet is often associated with gig speeds and vice versa since most fiber internet plans achieve speeds up to one gig or 1,000 Mbps. However, you don’t need a fiber provider and a 100% fiber connection to achieve these sought-after speeds. 

Many major providers are delivering gigabit speeds using a hybrid cable connection that makes up most of the length from the provider to the subscriber’s neighborhood. The remainder, or the distance from the start of the neighborhood to the subscriber’s home, utilizes a fiber connection. This method is cheaper for the provider than the investment in a 100% fiber network — yet still delivers top-tier speeds. 

Many, if not all, of the locations on our list have one or more cable providers currently using this hybrid connection type (Spectrum, Xfinity, CenturyLink), so it’s highly likely that internet subscribers in these areas aren’t wanting for high speeds.

Looking for all the cities that made our list? Check out the chart for all 30 U.S. cities.

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Taylor Gadsden

Written by:

Taylor Gadsden

Writer, Broadband & Wireless Content

Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, including a data piece on the top fiber cities in the U.S. and a troubleshooting guide on how to connect your p… Read more

Shannon Ullman

Edited by:

Shannon Ullman

Editor, Broadband & Wireless Content

Read bio