It may be a telltale sign. If you are seeing bright-colored red, yellow or blue lines – speckled with same-colored flags – lining the boundaries of your yards, it just may mean that one of the companies providing internet and cable TV is about to lay down fiber optics in your neighborhood.
While it’s possible that the lines may suggest a different type of excavation, the presence of various colored lines arranged in a tic-tac-toe pattern throughout an entire residential area typically implies an advancement in next-gen technology.
Fortunately for Sandy Springs’ neighborhoods, much of the basics have already been accomplished. According to Alex Horwitz, vice president of public relations at Comcast NBC Universal, “We’re already in Sandy Springs and have been for quite some time. We cover the vast majority of that city.” However, he added that “we are in the process of simply upgrading our existing network,” which, he explained, is a mix of fiber and coaxial cable.”
In April, Comcast announced that its latest Xfinity 10G Network upgrade is rolling out to homes and businesses across greater Atlanta. “With these improvements, Comcast is deploying new download speeds of up to 2 gigabits-per-second (Gbps), and up to 5x-to-10x faster upload speeds in Atlanta.”
Noting that Sandy Springs is included in this upgrade, the Comcast’s announcement notes that the “region now has the foundational next-generation network in place to begin introducing new symmetrical multi-gigabit Internet options late this year that can be delivered across Comcast’s existing networks with less cost.”
And Comcast is not the only service provider actively adding the fiber optic technology that is used for long-distance and high-performance data networking.
AT&T Fiber is available to thousands of customer locations in parts of Sandy Springs, according to Ann L. Elsas, AT&T’s lead public relations manager for the Southeast. “This is part of more than 1.5 million customer locations in the State of Georgia. Early in 2022, we launched and expanded our multi-gig services to offer up to 5 Gbps symmetrical speeds to consumers and businesses. With multi-gig speeds, we’re able to provide our customers with a first-of-its-kind internet experience.”
How does AT&T determine where it will next lay its newest technology? Elsas said that “we’re constantly evaluating our network and coverage to deliver the best, most reliable network to our customers, no matter where they are. We look at a number of factors when deciding to add fiber to areas, including – but not limited to – topography, distribution of demand and property availability.”
For many residents and business owners in Sandy Springs, understanding the technology behind fiber optics might be too much of a challenge. Simply put, fiber cables are comprised of thin glass or plastic. They use light to transmit data, empowering faster speeds and higher bandwidth than traditional copper cable, which depend on electrical signals. Because they provide faster data transmission, fiber optic connections remain strong even during heavy usage times.
Fiber optic cables are more expensive to produce than copper and installation is more expensive. And, because they are made of glass, they are more fragile.
According to one homeowners’ association president, it is totally worth it for the customers. Fiber optic cables are critical as the use of the internet continues to increase, he said. Both speed and bandwidth are improved significantly. “More and more of our everyday lift depends on high-speed connectivity which will be possible with fiber.” He added that he doesn’t know if having fiber optics in one’s neighborhood would actually increase property values, but it may cause a buyer to choose one subdivision over another.AT&T’s Elsas said that her company is committed to connecting people to what matters most to them by delivering “reliable, high-speed internet across the country.” And, she added, to see if fiber is available in one’s neighborhood, they can go to att.com/notifyme and enter their address.