The History of Fiber
If you think fiber is a new technology, you might be surprised to find out that it’s been around for decades. So, how long has it been around, and why on earth did we bother with those early days of dial-up internet if a better option existed?
Before we get into that, let’s take a step back and define what fiber optic means.
What is fiber?
Fiber optic communication refers to a method of transmitting information through pulses of infrared light through optical fibers—tiny fibers bundled together to form cables the size of a strand of human hair.
Fiber’s past, present, and future
While fiber optic cables have been in use since the 1970s, the technology behind it dates back much further. Here’s a quick synopsis:
- Mid-1800s: Researchers like Alexander Graham Bell laid the foundation for the invention of fiber optic cables. Bell’s Photophone, an early attempt at the telephone, transmitted sound through a beam of light—making it an early precursor to fiber optic communication.
- 1970s: Corning Glass researchers invented fiber optic wires that could carry 65,000 times more data than copper wires.
- 1970s-80s: Telephone companies began using fiber cables to build their networks.
- 1986: Sprint became the first U.S. telecom company to establish a nationwide, 100% digital fiber-optic network.
- 1988: The first transatlantic telephone cable to use optical fiber went into operation, connecting the U.S., the UK, and France.
- 1991: A new, all-optic fiber system was invented that could carry 100 times more information than cable.
- 1996: The first all-optic fiber cable was laid under the Pacific Ocean.
- 1997: The Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG) became the longest single-cable network in the world, providing the infrastructure for the internet.
By end of 1990s, about 80% of worldwide long-distance traffic data was transmitted via fiber optic cables. As the internet boomed, fiber optic internet replaced traditional copper cables as the need for faster, more reliable connections grew, and fiber became more cost-effective to build. Today, a huge network of fiber-optic cables stretches across the globe, connecting us to each other—and the world.
At Horizon, we are proud to deliver fiber-fast internet to the community of Chillicothe. If you want to learn more about the history or benefits of fiber broadband, contact us or give us a call at 740-772-8200. Our friendly, local team would love to hear from you!