Gigabit Internet for Your Business: Is Modem or Fiber Delivery Best?


By Jon Pederson
Midco Chief Technology Officer

Customers asked for faster internet speeds, and we listened. Following two years of network preparation, Midco is launching cable modem gigabit service to homes and businesses.

So far, we have launched Midco Business Xstream® Gig in Fargo, Sioux Falls, Cambridge and Grand Forks. By the end of the year, gig via modem will be available to more than 80% of our customers.

What's the Big Deal?

Gigabit and even faster service has been available to businesses for years with a direct fiber connection. You might ask, “What's right for my business, and what's the difference?” That's a question we often receive from interested companies, and it's a good one. Each service has advantages, and ultimately, it's up to you to decide, based upon your business desires and goals. Here are some things to consider:

Our Investment, Your Savings

First, it's important to realize that all Midco network service is fiber service. For connections involving a cable modem, more than 90% of the connection is fiber (on average). It's just the last 10% or so that's easily maintained coaxial cable. This is called a hybrid-fiber network and it's the most cost-effective way to light a fiber data service. Because of that cost-effectiveness, we can reach a larger number of addresses, and pass that value along to customers at install and every month after that.

The Value of Cable

Cable modem service is often the best option for smaller businesses looking for a fast connection at a value-based price point. By it's nature, cable modem service is asymmetrical. That means the download speed is faster than upload speed. That matches the way most folks use the internet, but certain types of network connections may require a faster upload speed. Cable modem service is also offered to home users and due to its popularity, the cable modem network may experience more planned maintenance as we improve the network and adjust for growth.

Scalable, Symmetrical Fiber

Our fiber-connected services are 100% fiber and do not intermingle with the broader cable modem network. Symmetrical service – with the same upload and download speed capabilities – is the default, and your service connects directly to our MEF 2.0 certified backbone network. It's like white-glove network service – and includes extra service-level assurances and 24/7 support. Fiber connections are ideal for:

  • Interconnecting multiple locations
  • Accessing data center and managed services
  • Businesses that do a lot of data transfers or uploads to the cloud

Fiber connections are also easily scalable to higher speeds (up to 100 Gbps at Midco) and can be configured as part of a redundant network. Fiber is a precious resource, so a pure fiber connection may be location-dependent, less widely available, and may require more time and construction to configure and activate.  

Faster is Always Better

For both types of connections, gigabit level service is now available. Since starting with kilobit services many years ago, Midco has continually increased speeds. When it comes to networks, faster is better. Whether by fiber or cable modem, our gigabit service is quantum jump ahead designed to make it easy for customers to have all the speed and capacity they need for any network function for any number of users – today and tomorrow.

Which fits your business best – cable modem or fiber? Learn more about Midco Business Xstream Gig.

About Jon Pederson

Jon Pederson

Jon Pederson leads construction, engineering and network services – including all core technical systems and infrastructure. He designed and implemented Midco’s internet service and digital phone product, and established the network operations center. Pederson is an ardent supporter of the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History, and serves on that organization’s board.


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