In the world of telecommunications, the currency is bandwidth. Like one of those huge aqueducts that supplies water to New York City, its capacity governs everything downstream. And like New York's Long Island Expressway, it tends to fill up and clog the moment a lane or two of capacity is added.

Imagine, however, that the Hudson River replaced those aqueducts or that expressway. It can carry many more times the volume than the ducts or the road, so much more that the possibility of congestion would be pushed far into the future.

William Gloede This is what fiber optic cable does in the world of telecommunications, and, increasingly, everyday life.

Sales Connection

A state-of-the-art fiber optic backbone can help sell new homes. Park Village, Alpharetta Ga.–based Sivica Homes' new master planned community in Canton, Ga., features a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) telecommunications system installed and run by Connexion Technologies of Cary, N.C.

“It has been very helpful in closing our sales,” says Irene Hall, vice president of marketing for Sivica. “It gives the homeowner flexibility. One switch flips and everything [telephone, TV, security, Internet, etc.] works. It increases the average home value anywhere from $5,000 to $14,000.” Opened in summer 2006, Park Village has sold 15 of the 30 completed homes, more than 600 homes are planned for the community that is about a 45-minute drive from Atlanta.

Residents can choose a package of services from a list of providers, including telephone, TV, Internet, security, and video on demand. Connexion prices the services competitively to ensure that residents are getting the best deals on the services they order—the whole package is billed through the Park Village Homeowners Association.

All Access

The beauty of installing the fiber network is that it is costing Sivica nothing. Connexion funded the construction of the system, and the company runs it. Connexion will happily do so for developments of 200 homes and up. It now serves some 80,000 subscribers and expects to grow to 200,000 by the end of 2007.

“Our fiber-to-the-home means different things to different builders,” says Glen Lang, founder and CEO of Connexion. For instance, The Related Group wants services such as international satellite TV channels, intra community communications, and security options for its South Florida condominium projects that attract an ethnically diverse clientele. Other builders, such as D.R. Horton, tend toward a bundled package of basic cable TV, Internet, and telephone. Each homeowner chooses from an array of services, which, in effect, self-selects and custom fits the telecom package to the community.

BENEFITS OF FIBER: Sivica Homes' Park Village community features a fiber-to-the-home telecommunications system, adding $5,000 to $14,000 to the average home's value. Courtesy Sivica Homes The FTTH network gives homeowners virtually unlimited access to all things digital, an increasingly important amenity as video-over-the-Internet takes hold. Except in areas where the telecommunication companies have installed FTTH, existing infrastructure of cable and telephone services is already stressed to capacity, which is why the Internet seems to slow down when the kids get home from school or the picture on your digital TV freezes or breaks up.

When connected to a structured wiring network within the home, the FTTH network can deliver downloads, including large high-definition video files, hundreds of times faster than the hybrid fiber/coaxial networks employed by cable operators or the copper-wire networks of the telephone companies. Moreover, the single connection will provide homeowners with plug-and-play capabilities across a wide range of home systems, which would be impossible with multiple lines coming in from disparate service providers.

There is yet another advantage to fiber: it does not conduct electricity, which means no green utility boxes dotting the neighborhood. More importantly, it means the network is impervious to power outages, spikes, and interference. Kind of like that river.

–William Gloede, BIG BUILDER'S Digital Home editor-at-large, lives and works in Camden, Maine. E-mail:

Learn more about markets featured in this article: New York, NY.