Cable vs. Fiber

Recently a friend who is in my neighborhood was on a Zoom call with me and I noticed his video was lagging badly, while others looked great. After speaking with him it turns out he’s on traditional cable broadband, while my connection is on fiber. We’re both on Cox communications so I decided to do some writing about the differences using ChatGPT.

Here’s what we’ve come up with.

When it comes to choosing an internet service provider, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is whether to go with cable or fiber internet. Both offer high-speed internet, but there are some key differences to consider. The differences can vary based on the provider, speeds offered, and more. While I’ve enjoyed cable speeds up to 1Gbps personally in the past with Comcast’s Xfinity in Sarasota, and 350 Mbps via Cox when I lived in San Diego County, my experience on real fiber broadband in Marina Del Rey, Sacramento and now Las Vegas is night and day different

Cable Internet

Cable internet is the more established of the two technologies, having been around for decades. It works by transmitting data over the same coaxial cables used to deliver cable TV. Providers typically offer speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps, with the average speed in the United States being around 100 Mbps.

One of the main benefits of cable internet is that it’s widely available. Most areas have at least one cable provider, and many have multiple options. Cable internet is also relatively affordable, with introductory rates as low as $20 per month. This makes it a popular choice for many households and small businesses.

However, cable internet has some drawbacks. The biggest issue is that it’s a shared network, meaning that your speed can slow down during peak usage times when many people in your area are online. This is because the bandwidth is shared among all users in the area. Cable internet is also susceptible to interference and outages caused by weather, nearby construction, or other factors. This can be frustrating, especially if you rely on the internet for work or other important activities.

Fiber Internet

Fiber internet is a newer technology that uses fiber-optic cables to transmit data. Providers typically offer speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, with some providers offering even faster speeds. Fiber internet is known for its reliability and consistency, with speeds remaining fast and stable even during peak usage times.

One of the biggest advantages of fiber internet is its speed. It’s currently the fastest internet technology available, with some providers offering speeds of up to 2 Gbps. This can be a game-changer for heavy internet users who require fast, reliable speeds for activities such as online gaming or video conferencing. Another advantage is that it’s a dedicated network, meaning that you won’t experience slowdowns during peak usage times. This is because each user has their own dedicated line that is not shared with others in the area.

However, fiber internet is not as widely available as cable internet. It requires special infrastructure to be built, which can be expensive and time-consuming. As a result, fiber internet is typically only available in larger cities and metropolitan areas. It’s also more expensive than cable internet, with prices starting at around $50 per month. This can be a deterrent for some users, especially those on a tight budget.


In summary, cable internet is widely available and affordable, but it can be slow and unreliable during peak usage times. Fiber internet is faster and more reliable, but it’s not as widely available and is more expensive. When choosing between the two, it ultimately comes down to your needs and budget. If you’re a heavy internet user and need fast, reliable speeds, fiber internet may be the better option. However, if you’re on a budget and don’t require the fastest speeds, cable internet may be a better fit.

Another important factor to consider is the type of activities you want to do online. For example, if you use the internet mostly for browsing, streaming videos, and social media, cable internet may be enough for your needs. On the other hand, if you do a lot of online gaming or work from home, fiber internet may be a better option due to its lower latency and faster upload speeds.

It’s also worth noting that some providers offer a hybrid service that combines both cable and fiber technologies. This can be a good compromise for those who want the speed and reliability of fiber internet but live in an area where it’s not yet available.

Overall, the choice between cable and fiber internet ultimately depends on your specific needs and circumstances. It’s important to compare providers and plans, read reviews, and consider factors such as speed, reliability, availability, and cost before making a decision. With the right internet service, you can enjoy fast, reliable internet that meets your needs and enhances your online experience.

If you’re considering switching to fiber internet, it’s important to do your research and choose a provider that offers the best service in your area. Some of the top fiber internet providers in the United States include Verizon Fios, Google Fiber, and AT&T Fiber. These providers offer a range of plans and speeds to suit different needs and budgets.

When comparing providers, it’s important to look beyond just speed and price. You should also consider factors such as customer service, reliability, and the quality of the equipment and infrastructure used. Reading online reviews and asking for recommendations from friends and family can also be helpful in making an informed decision.

Once you’ve chosen a provider, it’s important to set up your network properly to ensure optimal performance. This may involve upgrading your router and modem, installing Ethernet cables, and configuring your network settings. Your provider should be able to guide you through the process and offer support if you encounter any issues.

Cable and fiber internet are both viable options for high-speed internet. Cable internet is widely available and affordable, while fiber internet is faster and more reliable. When making a decision, it’s important to consider your specific needs and circumstances, as well as factors such as speed, reliability, availability, and cost. With the right internet service, you can enjoy fast, reliable internet that meets your needs and enhances your online experience.