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Optical fiber (or "fiber optic") refers to the medium and the technology associated with the transmission of information as light pulses along a glass or plastic strand or fiber. Optical fiber carries much more information than conventional copper wire and is in general not subject to electromagnetic interference and the need to retransmit signals. Most telephone company long-distance lines are now made of optical fiber. Transmission over an optical fiber cable requires repeaters at distance intervals. The glass fiber requires more protection within an outer cable than copper. For these reasons and because the installation of any new cabling is labor-intensive, few communities have installed optical fiber cables from the phone company's branch office to local customers (known as local loops). A type of fiber known as single mode fiber is used for longer distances; multimode fiber is used for shorter distances.
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