Explore Fiber Facts: FAQs

What is fiber?

An optical fiber is a strand of glass about the thickness of a human hair. The strand acts like a wire, but instead of sending electrical pulses, it sends light pulses. The light pulses can be used to send data over long distances, with an optical strand having many times the capacity of a metal wire or cable.

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Long-distance light pulses

Why do we need fiber?

Communications infrastructureIn today’s data driven world (even your TV and your telephone rely on data to bring you pictures and sound) it is critical that we upgrade our existing communications infrastructure. Because it operates at the speed of light, and has remarkable capacity to carry large amounts of information, fiber optics offers a way to “future proof” that infrastructure.

There are several reasons why fiber-optic media are highly recommended or even inevitable:

1. Security: Eavesdropping is easily achieved in copper-based cabling networks, and  tapping may not even be physical, leaving users with no indication at all that their transmissions are being intercepted. An optical fiber does not emit radiation, therefore eavesdropping is virtually impossible. Any attempt to tap may easily be detected by the network, as it requires physical cutting of the fiber for at least several minutes. Consequently, the use of Fiber-to-the-desk may be a requirement for networks serving the army or other government agencies.

2. EMI (Electro-Magnetic Interference): As opposed to copper cabling, optical fibers are not susceptible to EMI which may corrupt data transmitted. This feature is very crucial in environments where heavy EMI is frequently present like industrial sites (e.g., electrical motors).

3. Electrical Safety: Long copper lines may develop ground loops over them or even collect very high voltages due to lightning. Consequently, it creates a real hazard for the devices and the operators. In some environments, safety may have another facet—running electrical signals over long distances increases the risk of sparks, which may cause explosions (in refineries, chemical plants, etc.).

4. Emission: Low emission levels are sometimes vital in order to not interfere with other sensitive instrumentation (e.g., hospitals). Optical fibers do not emit signals.

Where is the fiber?

The fiber optic lines in are mounted on utility poles and, in some areas, buried in the ground. The map below shows the entire fiber-optic ring that surrounds and connects the region.

Ontario County Fiber Ring map

 Download this map as a PDF

Who owns the fiber?

Axcess Ontario owns and operates the fiberThe fiber is owned, maintained and operated by Axcess Ontario. Axcess Ontario is a not-for-profit, public-benefit local development corporation. The Axcess Ontario Board of Directors has oversight over the corporation with a Chief Executive Officer managing day-to-day operations.

How do I get fiber?

There are no residential service providers yet.Today, there are no service providers in the residential marketplace. As soon as we get someone to provide these services, we will notify the public.

Why are we doing this?

Broadband communications propel economic growth.Like electricity and highway transportation a century ago, broadband communications is the foundation for economic growth well into the foreseeable future. Job creation, education and healthcare, among other things, depend on the availability of a fiber-optic infrastructure.

Increasing performance difficulties:
It takes longer to transfer files, there are sometimes long pauses in interactions, and broken connections are more frequent.

The problem exists because of two basic issues:
The Internet is severely overloaded due to the explosion in Internet usage.

The amount of data being transferred has greatly increased and will continue to grow. Commercial and recreational traffic is increasingly preempting research and educational use of the Internet. To address this problem, regional and national private research-oriented networks are being built to meet the specific needs of research and education.

Axcess Ontario is a is a not-for-profit development corporation created to develop and manage an open-access fiber-optic backbone initially in Ontario County.

Finger lakes regional telecommunications development corporation