While fiber broadband is not a new technology, for the vast majority of the United States it is a technology that is unavailable and difficult to implement on a large scale. Which is a problem, as fiber broadband offers the fastest method of delivering high-speed internet.
Fiber networks transmit data using light, enabling speeds up to one gigabit per second. The average in the U.S. currently is 11.7 megabit per second, meaning fiber networks can move data 100 times faster than the U.S. average.
Some states and businesses have begun to make fiber networks more readily available. According to Statistica, 84.8% of Rhode Island’s population is covered with fiber networks. Unfortunately, that is by far the leader in the country. Only eight states have over half of their population covered by fiber networks.
The United States is certainly in need of a infrastructure overhaul, and a new bill introduced by California Legislature would see the state begin that transformation. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
Senator Lena Gonzalez has introduced legislation (SB 1130), which would allow the California state government to actively promote the transition of the state’s legacy communications infrastructure into a multi-gigabit fiber network that is competitive, affordable, and available to all residents lacking high-speed access.
The bill would follow in the footsteps of many European countries, as well as Asian markets like South Korea and China, who have massively adopted fiber networks for residents and businesses alike.
The bill will change much of the goals in the current California Advanced Services Fund on what constitutes being served by broadband. New metrics would focus on expanded high-speed wireless services such as 5G. The infrastructure would be subject to open access principles for competition.
In order to continue to advance, the United States is in desperate need of an infrastructure overhaul. Where the federal government has yet to step in to provide, states like California are taking it upon themselves to thrust their populace into the next generation of technology, which is really the current generation of technology.
We’ll see how this bill progresses, but hopefully it will inspire others to focus on the need for new infrastructure.