What is a lit building? In this sense, it means having fiber optic service installed and turned up within the facility. The “lit” reference is to the laser light that carries the digital signals through the fiber. There is also such a thing as “dark” fiber. The dark variety consists of fiber strands that have been pulled into the building but not connected to any equipment.
The advantage of having already lit fiber available in your facility is that you can be connected quickly and easily at any bandwidth up to 1 Gbps, or even higher in some cases. The terminal equipment is already in place and running. Other tenants in your office building may already be connected for fiber service. It’s generally no trouble at all to add an additional cable and run it to your particular location. You may even have such wiring in place from when the building was constructed.
In addition to being guaranteed connectivity and having it provisioned rapidly, being in a lit building saves you the often huge expense of bringing fiber in when it isn’t already available. That process can involve trenching for new conduit or threading fiber cable through existing conduit underground. In some cases, the fiber is “flown” overhead on utility poles. There is nothing inexpensive about pulling in new fiber.
So, if there is considerable expense in fiber installation, then why is Alpheus lighting buildings on its own dime? The demand for high bandwidth levels is already there and expected to only increase over the next few years. The buildings that Alpheus has selected are already business centers that can make good use of professional bandwidth services. These are located at 1001 Fannin St., Two Allen Center at 1200 Smith St. and 601 Travis St. Once connected, these buildings will be considered “on-net” for fiber optic service.
Other buildings are expected to follow, with Alpheus making additional investments this year. They have a goal of connecting 100 buildings in Dallas and Houston to their fiber network. Beyond that, the core Alpheus network connects to more than 300 central offices and POPs (Points of Presence). This includes both fiber and copper connections.
Copper? Yes, indeed. Twisted pair copper bundles are already installed to nearly every business location. Fiber easily outperforms copper when it comes to sheer bandwidth. However, not every business needs a Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) connection. Many companies have been getting by with T1 lines running at 1.5 Mbps for years. Cloud services and other business applications are quickly rendering T1 service obsolete. However, Ethernet over Copper (EoC) offers much higher bandwidth using the same twisted pair copper wiring that now supports T1 and multi-line telephone service.
Entry level EoC service typically begins at 3 Mbps for about the same cost as 1.5 Mbps T1. That’s twice the bandwidth for the same money. It is easy to ramp that up to 10 or 20 Mbps at reasonable cost. Some locations qualify for 50 and even 100 Mbps EoC bandwidth. The catch is that Ethernet over Copper is distance limited. You need to be located fairly close to the telco central office to get the really high bandwidths. Even so, many companies are finding that they can get by just fine with EoC right now and put off the investment in fiber construction until necessary. With carriers lighting buildings at a rapid rate, that fiber may even be in place by the time you need hundreds or thousands of Megabits per second.
Alpheus Communications is a high performance competitive carrier serving the DASH (Dallas-Austin-San Antonio-Houston) business marketplace. They offer Metro Ethernet, private line, managed wavelength MPLS network, Ethernet LAN (E-LAN), Ethernet Line (E-Line) and both PRI and SIP telephone trunking.
Are you located in Houston or other business locations in the United States, or have connections to the US? If so, there are many high bandwidth, low cost copper and fiber optic network services available to connect your business locations together and to the Internet. Check pricing and features to see what is available at your particular location.
Note: Photo of Houston skyline at night courtesy of Bobby L. Warren on Wikimedia Commons.