Networks are being upgraded worldwide and several million kilometers of fiber optic cable are laid every year. In Germany, eleven percent of all households can currently access fiber optic internet with their own modem. The goal of the German government: By 2025, all of Germany is to be supplied via fast networks. However, this also includes DSL and TV cable connections with a higher bandwidth, which still rely on copper lines for the last mile. Other countries are already further ahead in terms of fiber optic expansion: In Europe, Iceland, Belarus, Sweden, Spain and Latvia lead the way with a coverage of over 50 percent. In China and South Korea, as much as around 80 percent of all broadband connections are realized via fiber optics (as of 2019). But what is fiber optic actually and why is the technology so much better than copper cable?
A glass fiber is a hair-thin fiber made of glass that is coated with plastic to stabilize it. As a so-called optical fiber, it transmits the data of Internet communication by means of light. Because light in glass is less susceptible to interference than an electrical signal in a copper cable, much more data can be transmitted via a fiber optic cable. Most recently, British researchers sent 178 terabits of data per second through a fiber optic cable. According to Heraeus calculations, this means that all the film and television programs that a person watches in their lifetime can be transmitted in just a few seconds. Today's standard for long-distance traffic is already over 30 terabits. Furthermore, much less energy is lost in fiber optics than in copper cable, and it is weather-resistant, incombustible and therefore suitable for the expansion of the broadband network.