Return to articles


Do you stream TV? If so, then a question that might have crossed your mind is whether fiber internet will give you a better streaming experience. In this blog, we'll explore the differences between the three most popular types of internet and which one might be best for you.

Fiber internet provides faster speeds than DSL or cable and can handle more data at once without slowing down. This means less buffering time on your favorite shows! So does fiber provide a better viewing experience? That depends on a lot of factors. Let’s define some terms first, and then get down to comparing!

What is Fiber Internet?

Fiber internet, also known as fiber broadband, is an internet service that is provided via fiber optic cables. While cable internet transmits information via electricity over copper wires, fiber optic cables transmit information via light along glass or plastic fiber cables. It’s extremely fast (up to 70% the speed of light!) and also resistant to the weather and wear-and-tear challenges that traditional cables face.

Fiber internet isn’t the only type of high speed internet, and for most consumers, they won’t notice a difference between say, gigabit traditional cable internet vs. gigabit fiber internet.

Most current cable and internet service providers have a fiber option, including Spectrum, Xfinity, Google, AT&T, Cox, RCN, Frontier, CenturyLink, Verizon, and Optimum.

What is Gigabit Internet?

Gigabit Internet simply refers to the upload/download speeds of your internet- in this case, up to 1 gigabit per second- to put that in perspective, that’s equal to 1,000 megabits per second, meaning you can upload and download content magnitudes faster than traditional internet services will allow. Many providers offer gigabit internet using copper cables, but the term can apply to fiber internet as well. 

What is DSL?

DSL stands for digital subscriber line. Unlike cable internet, DSL is shared not over coaxial cables but telephone lines. This differs from dial-up because DSL internet functions at a higher frequency, allowing you to make calls whilst using the internet and vice versa. DSL runs considerably slower than fiber and  cable internet.

Fiber Internet vs. Cable

When you’re considering cable vs. fiber internet, you should be questioning what you’ll use your internet for (and if you’ll have access to fiber). Fiber installation can be extremely expensive, and fiber coverage in the U.S. is still somewhat limited. You’ll be much more likely to find fiber in select cities, whereas cable will be common most everywhere that isn’t extremely rural. You may also want to investigate just how much speed you need and compare and contrast prices- fiber is often preferred by heavy online gamers, multi-streamer households, and big uploaders, like businesses- because it can handle huge amounts of information extremely quickly. The typical household, however, will usually find that traditional cable internet has more than enough options- in their price range- that easily cover their options. For reference, cable internet typically reaches download speeds of 10-500 Mbps depending on your coverage- meaning you could download a 2 GB movie in four seconds. Fiber on the other hand, offers download speeds of 250 to 1,000 Mbps!

Fiber Internet vs. DSL

As we’ve established, DSL is considerably slower than both fiber and cable. So why consider it?
Coverage! If you have a telephone line, DSL will be available to you. In extremely rural areas, DSL may even be your only option. DSL offers download speeds of up to 100 Mbps- that means, in ideal conditions, you can download a 2 GB movie in 20 seconds.

Which Is Better for Streaming?

This depends on how many people are using the internet in your home- and what for. While traditional cable can cover most families’ needs, if you’re part of a household that is filled with gamers or obsessive streamers- think more than four devices streaming at once- you may want to investigate fiber options. It is also worth considering the benefit of cable bundles that may include not only internet service, but also bonus subscriptions to steaming services, like Disney+ or Netflix.

In the process of moving?

Fill out the form below to find your new provider

An informed decision is a smart move. 
  • Special TV packages
  • Internet that fits your needs
  • Secure, whole-home WiFi