23 April 2019


How Much Does it Cost to Install Fiber Optic Internet in My Building?

Internet connectivity over fiber optic cables has revolutionized the proficiency at which your company can operate. Having the flexibility to increase to 100 Gb speeds over a more reliable network, has enticed businesses to switch from copper to fiber networks.

There's a dilemma though. No matter how hard you search, you can't find a set price for obtaining fiber facilities for your business. It's not always a shady trick by telecom carriers. The facts are that there are so many aspects that play into the cost. And because of this, it means you're going to need your own assessment to determine final costs.

This article will explain the contributing factors that affect the cost of your installation, so you can start planning your upgrade to fiber.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Fiber Optic Internet?

Just like purchasing any physical input for your business, many factors can affect the cost of a fiber optic installation. Large enterprises, for instance, may require a higher fiber count depending on their capacity requirements. The difference between 24 count of fiber to a 288 count can range from $1 to $6 per foot. If fiber construction requires any digging to install the fiber into your building or any physical obstacles such as railroads or bodies of water stand in your way, and you've found greater variance in pricing.

If you're not sure of your requirements when deciding on a service provider, take a look at what's essential for your business internet service. We break down the types of service, their capabilities, and the benefits of each.

While it's challenging to narrow down a specific cost without seeing the environment, there are ways to get a better idea of what it's going to cost. The points below will help you better understand what the price tag will look like.

9 Factors Impacting Fiber Optic Internet Installation Prices

These nine factors are essential to locking down your price estimates. There's no way to truly know until you find a company you want to work with, but getting a ballpark figure will go a long way in making this decision easier.

1. How close is the nearest active fiber optic Internet line?

The distance you need to cover with fiber is going to play the most significant role in determining the price. You're going to see this fact come up a few more times because it's that critical to the pricing. The farther away you are from fiber, the more it will cost to get it to you. 

The goal is to get your building fiber-lit. If it already is, you're in luck because your price drops dramatically, even if you want to upgrade what's there.

(You can find out if your building is fiber-lit with resources like our Fiber Availability

If you're not already fiber-lit, you need to find the nearest access to fiber and hopefully, it's on a ring and not just a lateral. If the fiber stops just shy of your building, pricing can be very reasonable. If you're looking at a mile or more away, be prepared to pay more substantial rates to get it in.

2. Which companies provide service?

While there are plenty of companies who can provide you service, we recommend working with a locally based one who maintains their own network (like Atlantech).

An evaluation from a local company will give you a more accurate quote than a national provider. Local service providers also understand what's required for permits in your municipality and can get the ball rolling more easily than larger competitors.

3. What kind of existing conduit does your building have?

If your building is already set up for fiber, then you already have a conduit you can use. The building innerduct or conduit for optical fiber  protect the cabling within your building's infrastructure and make it easy to pass new or additional lines through.

If you need to outfit your building with conduits or shooting innerduct through conduit, you're upping your price again.

4. What physical obstacles are in the way?

The price of installation can rise depending on how much is required to bring fiber directly to your building. Obstacles like highways and rivers, or preserved sites, like graveyards, historical buildings, and nature reserves could add significant work to the install. The price is increased if your company already lacks easy access like if you're in the rear building of a campus closer to a major road.

Fiber is significantly lighter than traditional copper wiring which means there's a greater chance of damaging the cables. Installation within your building could be made more difficult around corners or any tight infrastructure since the cables are more physically fragile than traditional copper wires. But most manufacturers and service providers know how to handle the delicate strands of fiber and make sure that a secure, stable connection can be made.

5. How many layers of bureaucracy are there?

No one likes the hassle of permits, but they're necessary for municipalities to maintain order. Depending on your location, you can be looking at significant costs just for permission to upgrade your building. If you're in a city like Washington, D.C., be prepared for higher rates.

In most municipalities, you'll need a "Certificate of Public Convenience" which permits you to dig in the streets. If you have to run aerial fiber for some reason, you'll also need a "Pole Attachment Agreement." The cost varies per area, and permits can take weeks to get approved.

6. How much space is available in the telco closets?

Telecommunication closets, or telco closets, are small rooms where your network systems and devices are stored. It's important to evaluate how much space you have available before installing fiber, as you may require more than you can handle.

If you have to add a telco closet or create a way to access resources from other floors, your cost will be affected.

Is Fiber Available In My Building?

7. Is there sufficient power for fiber optic Internet technology?

One thing you'll want to make sure your telco closets can support is the power requirement for your network. Furthermore, you'll want to ensure you have a backup generator for power outages. If you're running your phones on over the fiber using SIP, that generator will allow you to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

8. How many different paths to the building can the fiber cable take?

In a perfect world, you want multiple entrances for fiber into your building. There's always a chance that fiber cables can be cut. While this is a rare occurrence, it's something you should prepare for.

A cut cable inside your building will only cause service problems for individuals on the other side of the cut, making it simple to narrow down where the problem lies. If the cut occurs outside your building, everyone will lose network access.

The secondary entrance mitigates these potential outages by connecting to a separate location at the site before heading into your building. The length and obstacles around the additional entry will add additional costs but it's vital for redundancy in your setup.

9. How vast is the footprint and floor area of your facility?

The larger the building, the higher the cost. Fiber is measured by the foot, but you need to include routes around the rooms and between floors to get an accurate idea of how much is required. If you're looking for more drops, you're also looking at increased costs.

The Factors That Will Influence Your Installation Bill

These nine key factors will either raise your overall price or leave you pleasantly surprised. Whether you know the answer to all of these questions or not, you should start considering them as you look into adding fiber optic Internet to your building.

If you're in the Washington, D.C. area and have any concerns over the cost, you can always call us at Atlantech for a free consultation. We can walk through the factors above, assess your specific location, and provide you with an accurate quote.

What About Ongoing Costs for Fiber Optic Internet?

Fiber has a significantly lower ongoing cost when compared to traditional copper cables. Fiber requires less maintenance than copper wires since it's resistant to corrosion, making your connection much more reliable. This also means the cables will hold up for a lot longer than standard copper wires.

You can spend less on security since the only method for unauthorized access to the network is by cutting the line, which you'll be immediately aware of since no one will have service.

So while the initial cost may be higher than other Internet services, you'll be saving money for the long term. You should look at our guide with 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Fiber Connectivity for Your Business. We spell out what you should ask and why the answers are important to know before you make your purchase.

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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - 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.