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Check Fiber Availability: Does Your Building Have It?

Check Fiber Availability: Does Your Building Have It?

Upgrading to fiber for business internet service can benefit your organization with productivity gains, greater reliability, and superior speed. 

Compared to traditional copper or coax cable internet access technology, fiber offers significant advantages in areas such as bandwidth, upload and download speeds, security, and long-term ownership costs.

As many fiber providers expand their resources in major cities, fiber internet availability is more expansive than ever.

If you’re wondering how much it will cost your business to upgrade to fiber internet and whether your building is already lit with fiber, you’re in the right place.

In this article, you’ll learn why being in a fiber-lit building matters and how to tell your proximity to fiber resources.

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Checking for Fiber Internet Availability: What is a Fiber-Lit Building?

A fiber-lit building is a building with fiber facilities physically installed into the building and connected to a fiber provider’s network. A building is not fiber-lit if the fiber only reaches a pole or underground handhold outside.

As a business, being in a fiber-lit building makes a significant difference in upgrading to fiber internet quickly and at the lowest cost possible. Upgrading to fiber is faster, easier, and cheaper if you’re in a fiber-lit building already. 

Suppose your business is in the process of moving, and you're considering making the switch to fiber-optic internet service. In that case, it may be worth your time to consider whether future business locations are fiber-lit. Here's why.

Lower Initial Costs of Connectivity

The costs of connecting your business to fiber can vary significantly, and an upgrade can be very expensive if your building is not already connected to fiber resources in your city.

There can be a great deal of confusion around the exact cost of upgrading to fiber, and the answer is: it depends.

The most significant factor that impacts the cost of switching to fiber is whether your building is already lit with fiber or if there are fiber resources nearby.

If your building is already lit, your business won’t need to absorb the construction costs and permits to pull fiber into the building and upgrade to fiber-optic internet connectivity. 

While these costs are sometimes split between landlords, the carrier, and building tenants, the costs of lighting a building for the first time can be high. 

Permitting can vary by jurisdiction, and construction costs can vary as well. 

Pro tips: Historic buildings pose problems. Construction that must cross a sidewalk or streetscape will cost more than going through the soil.


Faster Upgraded Connectivity

Even with a highly-responsive carrier, there can be significant wait times when lighting a building for the first time. This can be due to factors such as bureaucracy, the complexity of construction, and the distance and proximity to unusual features such as a railroad, subway, or river/water feature.

Depending on your building's location, physical barriers to installation, and other factors discussed in this post, you may need to obtain a significant number of construction permits and get a few contracts signed. This can contribute to long wait times for a lightning-fast, high-bandwidth internet connection.

If your building is already lit for fiber, you’re at a significant advantage.

You and your provider don’t have to navigate the installation process to connect your business to fiber resources. But how do you know if your building is already lit for fiber or how close it is to existing fiber resources?

How to Find Out if Your Building is Lit for Fiber

You can use a resource such as FiberLocator. You may be able to ask your landlord about existing fiber resources in your building.

Most major fiber carriers offer online maps that detail proximity to your building, which can provide instant insight into whether your building is fiber-lit. If you know which fiber providers cover the ring in your city, you can drill down to check a few websites and determine proximity in a few minutes.

Related: The 5 Best Telecommunications Companies in Washington D.C.

If you're a business located in the Washington D.C. Metro area, Atlantech Online is a leading source of exceptional fiber internet connectivity for over 20,000 commercial buildings in this footprint.

Click here to check for fiber internet availability now.

What are My Options if My Building isn’t Lit for Fiber?

If you discover your building isn’t currently lit for fiber, the costs of installing fiber service can vary significantly. 

Understanding how much it costs to install fiber in a building requires a unique on-site assessment. Fortunately, the eight primary factors which can impact the cost of installing fiber connectivity in a building are universally-applicable:

  • How close is the nearest fiber ring? The proximity of fiber resources to your building is likely the single biggest factor in the overall cost of installation. If the fiber stops outside your building, overall costs are likely to be much lower than if the fiber is located a mile or more away.
  • The existing conduit your building has. If a fiber installation can take advantage of an existing conduit, it can make the installation simpler and keep costs down. 
  • Physical obstructions. If fiber resources will need to cross significant physical obstacles, such as a highway or railroad to light your building, it could result in a higher-cost installation.
  • Layers of bureaucracy. Before you can light your building, you’ll need to obtain the necessary permits. For businesses in Washington, D.C., and other metro areas where construction is highly-regulated, the cost of permitting alone can be expensive.
  • Sufficient onsite resources. During your on-site evaluation, you’ll evaluate the telco closets to ensure there’s sufficient space to support fiber. If your building's telco closets are already full, this could mean additional construction costs to get your building lit with fiber.
  • Do You Have the Power to Light Fiber? Within your telco room, is there ample power and, ideally, an emergency generator available to activate service? If the answer is no, there could be some additional cost associated with bringing on the necessary power capabilities for fiber.
  • Do you have access to generator power? A power generator is desirable if you're also delivering phone service over your connectivity. You want to be able to dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
  • How large your building is. It is typically costlier to light larger facilities and buildings with fiber resources than smaller facilities.

For more in-depth insights, we recommend: How Much Does it Cost to Get Fiber Internet Installed in My Building?

Top 5 Fiber Internet Providers in the D.C Area

  1. Zayo - The largest independent network provider in North America, linking the world's critical data centers via extensive high-count, long-haul dark fiber.
  2. Crown Castle - Its network includes 40,000 cell towers and 85,000 route miles of fiber, supporting small cells and fiber solutions.
  3. Verizon - Fast downloads and uploads, guaranteed 99.99% fiber uptime, and good customer service.
  4. Comcast - Comcast Business Internet is available throughout most of the US, and offers a secure connection for small to mid-sized businesses.
  5. Atlantech Online - Provides top-notch fiber internet on our own network to business customers in the greater Washington DC Metro Area–including unmatched customer support and 24/7 proactive network monitoring.

How to Upgrade Your Business to Fiber Internet Service

Unfortunately, there’s no simple, universal price tag associated with the cost of upgrading a business to fiber-optic internet service. 

The cost can vary significantly, but the single biggest variable is whether your organization is located in a building that is already fiber-lit. 

If it is, the upgrade will likely be relatively low-cost and simple. If not, the cost and timeline can vary significantly, depending on factors such as proximity of existing resources, permits, physical obstacles, facilities layout, and more.

Your best course of action is to find out where you stand and make a plan!

Click here to learn if your building is fiber-lit.


Tom Collins
Post by Tom Collins
November 2, 2022
Tom is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.