From a fiber
optic perspective, it's looking up, we think!
Here's our current opinion
on the market for fiber optic installation jobs.
The jobs are certainly not in the "long haul" market.
Reports of cables having 95% dark fiber or more were true in
many markets. The rush to fiber for long distance telephony and
the Internet created an oversupply of bandwidth that in high-traffic
markets will take years to use up. Only certain areas such as
secondary markets that were ignored in the "fiber rush"
are getting new cables now and fiber counts in cables are much
lower, meaning less installation time.
Metropolitan markets are doing better. Big cities are mostly
overbuilt but smaller cities are now getting the attention. Some
are experiencing good telecom and Internet traffic growth and
require more capacity, creating a market for outside plant installers.
Like the long haul market, cables typically have lower fiber
counts, in spite of the fact that singlemode fiber costs only
about 2 cents per meter actually less than kite string
or monofilament fishing line! Fiber may be cheap, but users know
the installation is expensive, so they reduce their costs by
installing only the fiber they know they need.
The big news is in fiber to the home. Just don't hold your breath.
There are several obstacles in the way of massive FTTH installations.Most
people we have talked with wonder if this is a real program.
The telcos have talked about FTTH for 15 years or more but only
do a few dozen houses at a time. Some people also think it's
just a ploy by the telcos to put pressure on suppliers to lower
prices or just a diversion to test the market among consumers.
The consumers are the wild card. Will they subscribe to services
that will make FTTH profitable for the telcos? Will the telcos
use FTTH to try to catch up with the CATV industry which has
a 2:1 lead over DSL with their broadband cable modem service?
And will consumers continue their abandonment of landlines for
wireless services making investment in FTTH or any form of telco
In the midst of all this uncertainty, there is lots of good news
for contractors and installers. Both the premises cabling and
security markets are booming. Multimode installations for LANs
and security systems are benefiting from current market conditions.
The security concerns today have greatly helped fiber optics.
It's being more widely used for video surveillance cameras and
alarms. The military and government agencies are budgeting billions
of dollars for installing new fiber networks in many facilities
with geographically diverse cable runs to prevent terrorist attacks
from disrupting communications. Upgrades to links between facilities
are also in the works.
It seems that the market potential for the contractor doing premises
and campus fiber optics is really good, while the opportunity
in FTTH is a long shot that could pay off big.
Are You In The Right Job?
What skills does your job require?
Or what jobs match your skills? See http://online.onetcenter.org/
for the US Department of Labor's O*NET Occupational Information
Network Online for a database of occupational information. It's
FOA Again Co-Sponsors VDV Expo
NECA will be holding their 5th
annual VDV Expo in Las Vegas
March 10-12, 2004. Besides the exhibition, there are many good
seminars available, including two by FOA President Jim Hayes,
one on fast-terminations
for fiber optic cables and another on understanding OTDRs.
New sections of "Lennie Lightwave's
Guide To Fiber Optics" covers loss
testing of fiber optic cables and OTDRs.
The loss testing pages are in Lennie's unique "virtual hands-on"
format that shows the process step-by-step. The OTDR section tells
how they work, what they measure, how (and where) to use them
and describes the measurement errors. A good read!
Eric Pearson's Newsletters - with
some tests on connectors.
Interested In Advanced Certification?
If you think you might, download
and print yourself a FOA Logbook
to keep track of your experience and traning. It will help you
qualify for the CFOS
Your Name, CFOT - It pays to
The FOA encourages CFOTs to use
the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc.
and provides logo
files on this site for that purpose. But we are also asked
about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can
refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your
Name, CFOS/T" for example.
Feel free to use the logo and
designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!
Remember To Renew Your Certification
Remember to renew your FOA certification.
All current CFOTs have a ID Card with their certification data
and we keep a database of current CFOTs to answer inquiries regarding
your qualifications if needed. If you forgot to renew, use the
form or the FOA
online store to renew NOW!
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get one started soon. When you renew your certification, you will
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you will be asked to give your email address for us to use in
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FOA Board of Advisors
Elias Awad, Clerk, Director of Education
F. Douglas Elliot, Past President
William H. Graham
Jim Hayes, President, Treasurer
John Highhouse, Past President
Danny S. Lyall
Eric Y. Loytty
Paul Rosenberg, Past President
Richard James Smith
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