October 03, 2013
Fiber for Schools a Fast-Track to the Net
By Nicole Spector
Techies have long been praising the powers of fiber connectivity, which is arguably more reliable, resilient, and speedy than cable and DSL. It also touts cheaper costs than alternatives, experts insist. Bryan Dosono, a Google (News - Alert) Policy Fellow at the Open Technology Institute, wrote a guest blog for the New America Foundation this past summer, discussing the benefits fiber networking could bring to schools around the country within the next decade.
While the media occasionally reminds us about the massive budget cuts the education system in America is facing, we don't hear much about some of the other problems with which our nation's schools are contending. Slow Internet is one such issue. This may sound like a quintessential "first world problem," when taking into account the grievous state of education in poorer nations, but a problem it is, nevertheless. And, as you may expect, it's the city-run public schools, forever on a tight budget, that are afflicted with slacking Internet.This past summer, policymakers resolved to come up with solutions to get high-quality and high-speed Internet in the classrooms. Fiber infrastructure came up as an ideal option. Part of its appeal is its sturdiness. Unlike other types of copper wire, which corrode over not much time, fiber threads can last for decades. It's also not a big deal to up their capacity — no laying of new fiber is necessary. Fiber is fast because its signals naturally travel at high speeds and great distances. Then of course, most importantly, there is the cost, which is nominal in comparison to other Internet wirings. The only real cost of using fiber networks comes from the labor to put cables in place on poles or digging trenches to lay fiber in underground conduit. But this is an expense of most any cable installation. Since fiber is so capable, it requires very little maintenance in the long term.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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