Fibre optic cable is a high-speed data transmission medium. It contains tiny glass or plastic filaments that carry light beams. Digital data is transmitted through the cable via rapid pulses of light. The receiving end of a fibre optic transmission translates the light pulses into binary values, which can be read by a computer.
Because fibre optic cables transmit data via light waves, they can transfer information at the speed of light. Not surprisingly, fibre optic cables provide the fastest data transfer rates of any data transmission medium. They are also less susceptible to noise and interference compared to copper wires or telephone lines. However, fibre optic cables are more fragile than their metallic counterparts and therefore require more protective shielding. While copper wires can be spliced and mended as many times as needed, broken fibre optic cables often need to be replaced.
Since fibre optic cables provide fast transfer speeds and large bandwidth, they are used for a large part of the Internet backbone. For example, most transatlantic telecommunications cables between the U.S. and Europe are fibre optic. In recent years, fibre optic technology has become increasingly popular for local Internet connections as well. For example, some ISPs now offer "fibre Internet," which provides Internet access via a fibre optic line. Fibre connections can provide homes and businesses with data transfer speeds of 1 Gbps.