Fiber-optic cable can carry so much data so quickly that it allows Hardy Telecommunications to offer the fastest Internet speeds in the county and high-definition digital television over the same connection, Hardy’s Youth Advisory Board recently learned.
Derek Barr, Hardy’s director of customer service and sales, marketing and human resources, told the students that the company delivers its HDTV to residents as an Internet signal, traveling over the same fiber-optic cable as its broadband service. He explained how OneNet uses large satellite dishes to bring down the TV signals, which are then decoded with special equipment. After that, the TV satellite signals are turned into an Internet signal that can be distributed to customer homes via fiber-optic cable connections.
Hardy’s fiber-optic network is so strong that it can easily meet and exceed the new broadband definition from the Federal Communications Commission of 25 Mbps download speeds. OneNet offers 25 Mbps/10 Mbps upload as a standard package, and the network could handle much higher speeds if there is a demand for them, Derek said.
“You don’t see those speeds delivered reliably to rural residential homes without fiber,” he said. “Other technologies – copper DSL, wireless or satellite – are limited by other factors, such as distance from equipment or weather. Weather can wreak havoc on satellite Internet, affecting reliability. And with fiber, distance from equipment isn’t an issue: the signal’s data-carrying capability doesn’t lessen over distance.”
OneNet offers packages of Internet and telephone, television and telephone, or all three.
Because the high-definition television is delivered via the Internet, Hardy can provide exclusive TV channels using Internet transmissions, such as OneNet’s 911 Emergency Scanner channel and its Helmick Rock and Brighton Park scenic weather cams.
“If you can stream it, we can make it a channel,” he said.
Derek said he hoped to work with Moorefield and East Hardy high schools once the recent construction projects end to allow students to gain experience filming and editing video content. OneNet can air student contributions on its television network, he said.
This year’s Youth Advisory Board members are Ally Dyer, East Hardy junior; Emily Shockey, Moorefield junior; Austin Miller, East Hardy sophomore; Katlyn Tompkins, Moorefield sophomore; Holly Williams, East Hardy freshman; and Austin Frederick, Moorefield freshman. The board was created in 2007 to allow area youth to share their thoughts with Hardy about technology important to them. Each member serves a one-year term.