HOME TECH: It's Time to Move to Fiber Internet

Dated: February 8 2022

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It's Time to Move to Fiber Internet

Every few decades, new technologies arrive in cities for home internet delivery. If you lived in Oklahoma in the mid-90's, you'll certainly remember the buzz of Cox@Home cable service coming to your area with the promise of insanely fast internet speeds that outpaced dial-up.

In 2022, fiber internet is the new buzz. The combination of 4K streaming and the stay-at-home policies of Covid means we're reaching the point where people are needing faster speeds, using more data each month, and, frankly, tired of the nickel-and-diming and unexpected price hikes associated with cable and DSL internet.

Flotilla is here to explain why you should be looking into fiber internet for your home: its multiple advantages over cable, how to find out if you can get it, and our recommendation for which fiber plan to choose.

NOTE: Flotilla has received no compensation for our opinion. It is based solely on research gathered from the websites of internet service providers (ISPs) available in Oklahoma City.

Don't Get Caught Up in Download Speeds

All ISPs offer a wide range of download speeds; typically starting from 25 to 100 Mbps all the way up to 1000 Mbps (gigabit) or higher. OEC's fiber plan starts at 100 Mbps , and AT&T's fiber starts at 300 Mbps . For the purposes of our comparison, we'll be comparing them to Cox's closest cable plan at 150 Mbps . We've also included each ISP's fastest "gigabit" plan for comparison.

A 100 Mbps download speed is perfectly fine for most people. Consider that for the highest-quality 4K Ultra HD streaming , Netflix only requires a download speed of 25 Mbps ! If you're a larger family whose members stream a lot of video content throughout your home, then you may want to consider a faster plan.

What many customers overlook (because it's often in fine print) are upload speeds...

Pay Closer Attention to Upload Speeds

Where fiber really excels is its upload speed. Fiber offers something called symmetrical upload & download speeds . That means if you have a fiber plan with a 100 Mbps download speed, the upload speed is also 100 Mbps. This works across all plans (i.e., a gigabit fiber plan features both 1000 Mbps upload and 1000 Mbps download speeds).

Compare this to Cox's cable upload speeds which aren't symmetrical. Cox's Gigablast plan features a 940 Mbps download speed, but only a 35 Mbps upload speed—that's an upload speed of only 3% of the download speed! Even their other plans ( 100 Mbps and 500 Mbps ) only reach a maximum of 10 Mbps . If you're trying to upload large files to Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud, this could make it a painfully slow process.

Fiber's matching upload & download speeds is a huge feature that gives fiber a winning advantage over cable internet.

Monthly Data Limits (and Overage Fees)

Another major selling point of fiber is its straightforward, easy-to-understand pricing—no upsells on additional fees. All fiber plans from AT&T and OEC offer unlimited data. That means not having to worry about constantly monitoring whether you've downloaded (or uploaded) too much data for the month.

All of Cox's cable internet plans, however, have a 1.25 TB monthly data cap . This is for all data downloaded and uploaded from your home. If you have a gamer in your home who downloads large games, major games these days can be in excess of 100 GB—that's roughly 10% of your monthly data allowance in a single download! If you have gigabytes or even terabytes of important data on your computer that you want to upload to an offsite backup such as Carbonite or Backblaze, you could use a huge majority of your monthly allowance (or even all of it) in this single project.

If you go over your monthly data allowance with your Cox plan, you'll be paying an additional $10 on your bill for every 50 GB you go over (not to exceed more than $100 in a single month). You can, however, add an unlimited data add-on to your Cox plan for $50/month . Couple that with the $85/month base price for Cox's 150 Mbps plan, and you're looking at $135/month just to match AT&T's and OEC's comparable plans at $55/month —that's a huge difference in Cox's price, and you're still not getting the benefits of symmetrical upload speeds mentioned above with any of Cox's plans.

Check for Fiber in Your Area

At this point, you're probably thinking "Fiber just makes so much more sense. How do I get it?!" Well, hold on there. Unfortunately, fiber isn't available everywhere. It's a newer and completely different technology than cable, so it requires companies like AT&T and OEC to physically build out & expand their fiber infrastructure over many years. This means you'll need to check their websites to see if fiber is available in your area yet. You can check OEC's and AT&T's fiber availability for your address below...


Our Recommendation

In summary, if fiber is available in your area, there are so many reasons why you should switch to it. Fiber wins on faster upload speeds, a lower overall cost, and without the fear of being nickeled & dimed for data overage fees.

We'd recommend holding off on the more expensive gigabit plans unless you absolutely know you need that kind of speed. If you're happy with your current cable or DSL speed, but would just like the additional benefits of fiber, start with a fiber plan that's close to your current speed, and only move up to faster plans if you determine you require more speed.

Our winning fiber plans come to a tie. AT&T's Fiber 300 is the best deal. At 300 Mbps for $55/month , it's the lowest-cost plan for the most speed. However, more-and-more people are looking to avoid the long customer support phone queues and service appointments associated with large, national companies. ( PROTIP: Cox and AT&T have the benefit of physical stores you can visit for person-to-person resolution of customer services issues.)

If you prefer to support a local company, OEC's Fiber 100 is our other choice for the best plan. Although it's only ⅓rd the speed of AT&T's same-priced plan, it's still fast enough for most people, and you are supporting a local, Oklahoma company, which we like.

© 2022 Flotilla Holdings, Inc.

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Wes Kennedy

Wes has been working with computers since he was a kid in the 80s. In high school during the late 90s, he taught himself Adobe Photoshop, and even launched a fan website for his favorite band that att....

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