News

Is dark fiber in your district’s future?

By Bridget McCrea
July 22nd, 2016

Dark fiber is helping some districts scale broadband for tomorrow, not today. Is it the future of networking?

dark fiber

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began allowing E-rate applicants to apply for discounts for dark fiber and self-provisioned fiber. These “smart fiber” options are seen as a way to give institutions more tools for meeting connectivity demands.

Take our quick poll on dark fiber here.

Key points:

  • Dark fiber refers to physical fiber that the school owns, leases, or IRUs (indefeasible rights of use, or permanent contractual agreements). The school then “lights” the fiber. Bandwidth amounts are controlled by the school, and determined by the capacity of the optical network equipment.
  • A toolkit offers an overview of the E-rate program, important considerations for schools to assess their networking options, and a call to action for school systems to take steps toward deciding on and making effective use of today’s fiber connectivity options.
  • To ensure success with a dark fiber initiative, districts should avoid looking at the solution as a “quick fix” and should instead invest time and research into the project
  • Moving to dark fiber can be more cost-effective in the long run, but it also presents more work for district IT leaders as they research and build plans

Next page: Learn from district IT leaders and their experiences with dark fiber