OpenCape, a nonprofit organization, is the only 100 Gigabit, end-to-end 100% fiber optic network that spans 475 miles throughout southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod, with connections in Boston, Brockton and Providence RI.
Right now, broadband services are being provided over the OpenCape network to more than 100 institutions and businesses, including libraries, government buildings, schools, colleges, hospitals, public safety agencies, research institutions and private businesses. Many of these entities were funded with state and local grant funds. Now public and private funding is needed to continue getting the rest of our region connected.
The biggest benefit of fiber is that it can offer much faster speeds over much longer distances than traditional copper-based technologies like DSL and cable. The actual service depends on the company providing the service, but in most cases fiber is the best bang for the buck broadband and future-proof for as long as we can tell. Even if typical broadband speeds become 1000 times faster in 20 years, a single existing fiber-optic connection can still support it, the electronics that send the signal thru the fiber just will need updating.
When the phone rings at OpenCape most times it is a local home owner asking and sometimes pleading, “When can you get me faster, more reliable and less expensive Internet service”?
We are working on fiber to the home strategies, but it is expensive and really is only possible when you look at connecting entire communities. We also know that faster service will soon be standard for both downstream and upstream bandwidth requirements. Only FTTH can support symmetrical gigabyte speeds.
Fiber to the home (FTTH), also called "fiber to the premises" (FTTP), is the installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, MDU’s (multiple dwelling units) and businesses to provide unprecedented high-speed Internet access. FTTH dramatically increases the connection speeds available to computer users compared with technologies now used in most places.
While FTTH can deliver connection speeds from 1Gbps or more -- 20 to 100 times as fast as a typical cable modem or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection -- implementing FTTH on a large scale will be costly because it will require installation of new connections over the "last mile" from existing optical fiber cables to individual users.
There are a variety of options when considering fiber to the home, for example:
PON or GPON: Most people have heard of Google Fiber and their builds in Austin, Kansas City and beyond. In those cases they used GPON (Gigabit Passive Optic Network) which basically takes the signal from strands of fiber and using a passive optical splitter, allows that signal to be split and shared with as many as 32 or 64 homes. It is a more cost effective FTTH solution, but in the long run it may not be as easily scalable as other solutions.
Active Ethernet: Brings individual fibers directly into each home. While more fiber intensive, hence more expensive, the advantage of active/P2P Ethernet is that each end user is provided with a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet port. This allows for maximum scalability in the future If you want 1GB, 10GB or faster service and can pay for it, great, you will always have that level of connectivity…always on, always available.
Want to learn more? Here is a quick Q&A on why you need fiber optics.