Fiber optics refers to the technology of transmitting light down thin strands of highly transparent optical fibers. Fiber optics is used in communications, lighting, medicine, optical inspections and to make sensors. Even in communications, we have "outside plant" fiber optics, used in telephone networks, CATV, metropolitan networks, utilities, etc. or "premises" fiber optics, found in buildings and campuses. Just like "wire" which can mean lots of different things - power, security, HVAC, CCTV, LAN or telephone - fiber optics is not all the same. Outside plant cables often have very high fiber counts, up to 288 fibers or more. Long distances mean cables are spliced together, since cables are not manufactured in lengths longer than about 4-5 km (2.5-3 miles), and most splices are by fusion splicing. Connectors (generally SC or LC styles) on factory made pigtails are spliced onto the end of the cable.
The biggest advantage of optical fiber is the fact that it is the most cost effective, means of transporting information. Fiber can transport more information on longer distances in less time than any other communications medium.