Creating a fiber optic network can be expensive, but if fully taken advantage of can be extremely advantageous. Unfortunately, when fiber optic networks were first being placed across the United States, demand for the high speed networks was not high enough to make up for the price. Miles of fiber optic wires lay underground, unused for years—which is a shame, being that fiber optic cables can transfer data faster than broadband, and can handle high traffic.
According to an article posted by Geo-tel, a company that provides telecommunication infrastructure services, one county in the U.S. has realized just this, and wants to capitalize on the fiber optic networks that have been laying dormant under the soil. Columbia County, Georgia has recently received a federal grant to map out the network of fiber optic cables running through the county with some big plans for them.
Crews of just two are going throughout the county, walking every square foot of the land to manually map the entire fiber optic network. These crews are working on foot, with one person using Geo-tel's geographic information system (GIS) mapping device, while the other teammate marks the location of wires with spray paint. They work pretty quickly too, with a mile of fiber optics mapped every 15 minutes.
Once these crews finish Columbia County the plans are installing even more fiber optic cables. 220 miles of fiber optics will be laid, alongside 5 wireless relay towers. The county hopes to offer free Wi-Fi in public places like parks, libraries and community centers. It will also bring public offices, traffic lights and schools under one network.
The fiber optic networks won't just be an expense for the county, as they also intend to use it to make money. Once everything is set up they will be offering contracts to Internet Service Providers to use for running private lines to businesses and homes.
Columbia County isn't the first area to take advantage of buried fiber. Other counties and small towns like Tama, Iowa have also used GIS scanners to map out their buried fiber networks.
Edited by Maurice Nagle