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Underground Long Haul Fiber in Alabama: Why It Seems Nonexistent

With the absence of major, underground fiber optic cables throughout the state of Alabama, you’ll want to invest in reliable backup wireless options.

As the rest of the country is paving the way for advanced, underground fiber optics and the running of long haul fiber sources, it may seem like (a vast majority of) the state of Alabama has fallen behind on the curve. Underground fiber optic and broadband networks deliver internet access and other data transfers at unprecedented speeds, and while some larger cities – say, Tuscaloosa – have gotten a head start in the process of applying these networks, other, more rural areas seem to be stuck in the Stone Age.

Alabama Senator Clay Scofield says the lack of fiber broadband is one of the biggest threats to life in the state. In a recent interview with Ask Alabama, 37-year-old Scofield said:

It’s something I see as being a growing concern and it’s going to continue to put rural Alabama at greater disadvantages as we move into the 21st century even further. We’re seeing that high speed internet is important in the 21st century just as electricity and water are. And so if we expect rural Alabama to be able to compete to be able to educate a 21stcentury work force, if we want rural Alabama to recruit 21st century jobs, if we want rural Alabama to recruit people to move there instead of moving away, then high speed internet has to be in the mix of utilities and amenities that is offered there.

 Throughout the nation, cities have begun examining the effectiveness and practicality of establishing underground, long haul, high-speed fiber-optic services. So where does Alabama fall on the scale of implementation?

Alabama and long-haul cables

When you take even just the rural side of Alabama into account, an astonishingly high 39 percent of people and businesses do not have access to fast broadband. And a diagram of the nation’s long haul fiber optic cables, published by Business Insider, shows how this is true:

If you concentrate in on Alabama, you’ll notice that there are only two (!!) connection points (key: blue boxes) throughout the entire state. Furthermore, much of the landscape doesn’t have cables running through it whatsoever. There’s a huge contrast between the state of Alabama and surrounding areas like Florida and Georgia; and an even bigger divide when taking the entire East Coast of the nation into account.

Why Alabama isn’t digging for underground hauls

In the absence of duct infrastructure, long haul fiber cables can be buried directly into the ground using a vibratory plow. Sounds like a simple solution, yeah? Not so fast – you haven’t even considered the costs yet!

By far, the biggest reason the state of Alabama hasn’t seen underground long haul fiber is because of the prohibitive costs of digging into the earth and installing the infrastructure. One mile of fiber optic cable could cost anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 to install; and that’s without counting the costs for digging.

According to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Secretary for Research and Technology, here are some figures for you to wrap your head around. The following list shows real installation prices for underground fiber optic cables throughout the nation, in cost-per-mile-unit:


  • Fiber optic cable and installation in Charlotte, NC: $52,400 (remember, that’s PER mile)
  • Fiber optic cable and installation installed on route NC-16: $34,800
  • Cost of constructing the fiber optic infrastructure per corridor in Lake County, IL: $1,000,000
  • Fiber optic cable furnishing and installation in Colorado: $104,755.20

Those are just a few examples for you. If you want to take a look at more real numbers for long-haul fiber cable installation, click here. Hopefully, this gives you at least a little bit of a better understanding why the state hasn’t seemed to make more progress.

ITS is here to help

Born and grown in the state of Alabama, Information Transport Solutions, Inc. (ITS) provides top quality technology solutions to make organizations more profitable and productive. ITS helps educational institutions build the right infrastructure and implement technologies to build a safe environment, enhance administrative efficiency, and create 21st century learning environments. We understand the struggle you and your business may face in the absence of high-speed, fiber optic connection due to the lack of connection availability and proximity – and our experts are always on hand to get your business and services back on track.

After all, your business shouldn’t suffer simply because of the lack of expansion and maintenance of underground long haul fibers throughout the state. We don’t want to see your business short circuiting in a time of need (pun intended!).

We provide essential wireless back up that kicks in in time of need. And in a spotty area, you never know when that need is going to strike!

The importance of wireless backup

At ITS, we pride ourselves on ensuring uninterrupted Internet connectivity. Even if you are in a place with a reliable signal, downtime is inevitable from time to time when it comes to wired solutions. What does that mean for you? Unfortunately, at some unknown point, your business is going to experience an unplanned outage. It could be a weather-related event, human error, or like we said, because of lack of underground fiber optic cables, but regardless, it’s going to occur.

No matter the industry, your business’s structure should include a solid backup plan for outage management – one that will reduce recovery time and keep your business up and running. Downtime leads to lost sales, decreased productivity, and other related costs and expenses. Securing a wireless backup plan will ensure your company keeps running – even when the rest of the world doesn’t.

Don’t let spotty internet service keep you down

Let’s face it – your business is based in Alabama, and unless you’re centered in the middle of a major, bustling city, you most likely won’t always be able to rely on the success of your internet connectivity.

Get in touch with the experts at ITS today and find out how we can bring reliable wireless solutions and successful infrastructure to your company!