Maybe not cheap, exactly, but certainly much less expensive than telecommunications technology would be if the fiber optic cable was not so widely, and reliably, used.
Fiber optic cable is a very, very long strand, or tube, of optically pure glass that sends electronic signals from one remote location to another. The signal, or transmission, is passed through the fiber optic cable in much the same fashion that a flashlight transmits a beam of light down a long, dark hallway.
If the long, dark hallway had a bend or two (or many) in it, mirrors would need to be placed at appropriate locations in order for the flashlight’s beam of light to be seen at the opposite end of the winding hallway. The extraordinarily reflective inner surface of the fiber optic cable works like the mirrors do to relay the data signal through the flexible fiber optic cable.
The telecommunications industry relies upon the use of fiber optic cable networks for telephone systems, cable TV broadcasting, and internet access. Fiber optic cable technology is also widely used in digital cameras where bending is necessary, such as with medical imaging equipment (endoscopes, bronchoscopes), mechanical imaging (inspection of pipe and engine components), and inspection of plumbing and sewage lines.
Fiber optic cable technology has taken over the job once reserved for copper wiring. Fiber optic cable is less expensive to make and requires less power to transmit data than copper wiring. The reduced cost of manufacturing fiber optic cable allows the service provider to sell their services at lower rates, making these services more readily available to a broader market.
Another highly desirable advantage of fiber optic cable versus copper wiring is the absence of fire hazard inherent in metal wiring when it becomes super heated from the rapid rate of signal transmission
Fiber optic cable is more lightweight than traditional wiring and can be manufactured into fibers of much smaller dimension than copper, meaning more fiber optic cables (and more phone lines) can be bundled into a smaller space.
There is less signal degradation and no crosstalk when using fiber optic cable so internet access is faster, cable TV programs are more clear, and conversations have no distracting echoes or other background noise, even when you’re talking to a loved one or business associate on the other side of the world.