Get fiber-optic internet in your area
Shop fiber-optic internet providers to find available plans and speeds for your address.
What is fiber-optic internet?
Fiber-optic internet uses cables made of thin glass or plastic fibers to transfer data in the form of light signals. This internet connection type is able to support faster speeds and superior reliability compared to DSL and cable internet services. Fiber-optic internet is one of the best internet types for the price, but is also, unfortunately, one of the least available.
Fiber internet connection types and how they work
All fiber-optic internet connections are not the same. Depending on where you live or which fiber internet service providers are available in your area, you may have access to FTTN, FTTH or FTTC networks.
FTTN – fiber to the node (or fiber to the neighbor)
Fiber to the node (FTTN) connections use fiber-optic cables to carry data to a hub close to your home. From this point, DSL or coaxial cables may carry the data the rest of the way. FTTN connections using coaxial cables are also referred to as “hybrid fiber-coaxial network” or HFC, and are common connection types from cable internet providers.
Fiber internet providers employing an FTTN network are likely to connect many homes to the same node. Consequently, peak usage time and distance from the node can slow internet speed.
FTTC – fiber to the curb
Fiber to the curb (FTTC) connections carry the fiber-optic signals a bit further than FTTN connections, stopping just short of your house, or at the “curb.”
With this connection type, you’re more likely to experience the benefits of fiber-optic internet, including high bandwidth and speed consistency. However, FTTC does still use a DSL or coaxial cable to bridge the gap between your home and the street, which can leave your connection slightly susceptible to signal interference and slower speeds.
FTTH – fiber to the home
Fiber to the home (FTTH) connections employ fiber-optic cables all the way to your home. Also known as a “100% fiber-optic network” or “fiber to the premises (FTTP), FTTH offers the best in bandwidth, reliability and speed consistency. AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier FiOS and Verizon Fios claim to offer fiber-optic internet over a 100% fiber network in select areas.
Who offers fiber-optic internet?
Homeowners and renters have growing fiber-optic internet options. If available, you may be able to choose an internet plan from one of the providers below.
According to the FCC, nearly 33% of the U.S. population is eligible for fiber-optic internet service. As providers expand their fiber internet networks, more and more people will be able to enjoy high-speed fiber-optic internet options.
Most fiber-optic internet providers offer a range of speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. Click “Shop internet plans” to check for available plans and speeds in your area.
Fiber internet providers in your area
|Provider||Starting price*||Speed range up to||Learn more|
|$40/mo.||100 - 1,000 Mbps||AT&T packages|
|$65/mo.||12 - 1,000 Mbps||CenturyLink packages|
|$119.99/mo.||1,000 Mbps||Cox packages|
|$29.99/mo.||50 - 500 Mbps||Frontier packages|
|Mediacom||$119.99/mo.||1,000 Mbps||Mediacom packages|
|Suddenlink||$84.99/mo.||1,000 Mbps||Suddenlink cable packages|
|$39.99/mo.||100 - 940 Mbps||Verizon FiOS packages|
|Windstream||$36/mo.||6 - 1,000 Mbps||Windstream packages|
*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 10/10/19.
Since fiber technology is new, it’s not as readily available as other internet service options. Providers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox, Frontier, Mediacom, Suddenlink, Verizon and Windstream offer a limited number of residential fiber-optic internet connections and hope to expand their networks to more areas in the coming years.
AT&T offers fiber-optic internet across select cities in California, Texas, the Midwest and most of the Southeast. AT&T continues to build its fiber internet network in the U.S., so more residents in these regions will soon have access to high-speed fiber internet. In December 2018, AT&T announced new fiber expansions that will include Gainesville, FL, Waco, TX, and other cities.
CenturyLink Fiber Internet offers speeds up to 1,000 Mbps in 11 major metro areas in the U.S. CenturyLink gig speeds are available in cities such as Denver, CO, Las Vegas, NV, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Omaha, NE, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and others.
Cox Gigablast internet is available in most Cox service areas. Primary service areas include Phoenix, AZ, San Diego, CA, New Orleans, LA, Oklahoma City, OK, Omaha, NE, Providence, RI, and Virginia Beach, VA.
Frontier Communications offers two types of fiber internet. Frontier FiOS is a FTTH connection available in areas of California, Florida and Texas. Frontier Vantage is a FTTN connection available in select cities across the Midwest, Southeast, Northeast and Northwest.
Google, one of the first fiber-optic internet providers, has fiber-optic networks in select cities across the U.S. Right now, Google does not intend to expand fiber internet markets. You can find Google Fiber in parts of cities such as Atlanta, GA, Kansas City, KS, Austin, TX and Salt Lake City, UT. Where available, Google Fiber plans start at $50/mo. and offer speeds ranging from 100 to 1,000 Mbps.
Verizon’s fiber-optic TV and internet, Verizon Fios, is available in select cities across the East Coast. Verizon offers fiber across New Jersey, throughout Pennsylvania, in select cities in Virginia and in other major metro areas across the coast.
Windstream’s fiber internet service, Windstream Kinetic Gig Internet, is available across 16 states. Cities and towns where Windstream Kinetic Gig is available include Huron, MO, Concord, NC, Avon, OH and Wake Village, TX.
Is there fiber-optic internet near you? Check availability for fiber providers in your area.
How does fiber-optic internet compare to cable and DSL?
If you live in an area with access to fiber-optic internet, chances are good that you also have cable and DSL internet options as well. The type of internet you choose can make a difference in available speeds and overall quality of service.
Fiber-optic internet vs. cable internet
Fiber internet can offer starting speeds similar to what you’d get with cable internet with download speeds in the 50 to 100 Mbps range. Fiber-optic’s fastest speeds are higher than most cable connections, with speeds up 940 Mbps or higher. Additionally, you’re likely to get faster upload speeds, and more consistent speeds.
Starting prices for fiber-optic internet plans is comparable to cable internet and may even be cheaper, depending on the provider and plan.
Availability is where fiber-optic and cable internet differ most. Fiber internet is only available to about a third of the U.S. population, while cable is available to more than 88%. Fiber internet is most likely to be available in select parts of metro areas, whereas cable is likely available throughout metro areas and surrounding locations.
Fiber-optic internet vs. DSL internet
Fiber-optic internet is capable of delivering download and upload speeds much higher than DSL. The speeds you get with fiber-optic internet can support streaming in HD or 4K, gaming online and more on multiple devices. DSL internet speeds are typically better suited for lighter internet activities, such as streaming in SD, browsing the internet and sending emails. Another advantage is that fiber-optic internet doesn’t require a phone line for service like DSL.
Price and availability are two advantages DSL internet has over fiber-optic internet. Plans are likely to be cheaper with DSL service, and DSL is the second-most available internet type next to satellite internet, covering 95% of the U.S.
Pros and cons of fiber-optic internet
Fiber internet gives you a reliable connection capable of delivering some of the fastest internet speeds available, but there are some potential disadvantages too.
- Quality: Since fiber’s main conductor is glass, it’s more resistant to interference. This helps it produce a connection known for superior performance, reliability and high speeds.
- Speed: Where available, speeds could reach up to 1,000 Mbps or higher.
- Value over time: Because fiber-optic networks cost less to maintain, the price for service is expected to become more affordable over time.
- Availability: Fiber-optic is only available in select areas, mostly cities.
- Initial expansion costs: Fiber-optic networks cost more than other internet connection types to construct. It can lead to higher initial costs for providers and customers.
- Home installation requirements: Many homes already have phone lines or cable connections at the ready for DSL and cable connections. Since fiber technology is newer, a provider may need to drill into your home to set up new lines.
Fiber-optic internet frequently asked questions
Fiber internet is available to about 33% of the U.S. population. Large metro areas are the most common service areas for fiber-optic providers, but actual availability may be limited to certain ZIP codes or neighborhoods within a city.
Prices vary by provider and the plan you choose. Depending on what’s available in your area, you could get fiber-optic internet for around $40/mo. Gigabit internet plans, however, can easily cost over $100/mo. for service.
You will likely need a new modem for fiber internet service as traditional cable and DSL modems are not compatible. Fortunately, fiber internet providers either include a modem or offer one to rent or purchase with their internet plans.
No. Fiber internet uses thin glass or plastic wires to transmit data so no phone line is required. The exception is FTTN connections that use a DSL connection from the node to your home.
Fiber internet is ideal for users who want fast, consistent internet speeds and don’t mind paying a little extra for service. Fiber-optic internet gives you the bandwidth to stream, game online, browse social media and more at once across multiple devices.
Though it is a great internet service type, fiber-optic internet isn’t for everyone. If you’re shopping for the cheapest internet service, fiber-optic internet likely will not offer the cheapest plans in your area. Also, if you just need an internet connection for browsing the web and streaming, you likely won’t need the faster speeds that come with fiber internet.
Speeds can range from 50 to 1,000 Mbps depending on the provider and plan. With a fiber-optic connection, you are likely to experience greater speed consistency, even during “peak” usage times, and speeds that are near or above your plan’s advertised speeds.
Last updated on 10/10/19.