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Fiber Broadband Networks


Organizations working on fiber broadband projects may find these resources useful in starting a project and finding funding.

FOA also has a page devoted to rural broadband and its unique requirements and a new page on Fiber Broadband FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions.

If you are working on a IIJA/BEAD project, contact FOA for a package of useful educational materials -

If you are concerned or involved with workforce development, t
his FOA page on workforce development can help you understand the fiber optic workforce.

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband

FOA Guide To Fiber BroadbandIn less than half a century, fiber optics has revolutionized communications and to a large extent, society in general. Broadband, what many today call high speed Internet access, has become a necessity for everyone, not a luxury. The technology that makes broadband possible is fiber optics, connecting the continents, cities, and just about everybody. Even fiber to the home (FTTH) brings broadband to hundreds of millions worldwide.

How did we get from an era when communications was making a telephone call or sending a telegram to today’s world where every piece of information – and misinformation – is available at the click of a mouse or touch on a screen? How did we get from a time when a phone was connected on copper wires to being able to connect practically anywhere on a handheld device with more computing power than was available to scientists and engineers only decades ago?

How does broadband work? Without fiber optics it would not work.

This book is not the typical FOA technical textbook - it is written for anyone who wants to understand fiber broadband or fiber optics or the Internet. It's also aimed at STEM teachers wh want to include communications technology in their classes. This book will try to explain not only how fiber broadband works, but how it was developed. It is intended to be an introduction to communications technology appropriate for a communications course at almost any level (junior high, high school or college,) for managers involved with broadband projects, or for anyone who just wonders how all this stuff works.

The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber Broadband  

Paperback available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version coming soon.

Nobody knows more about fiber broadband than the Fiber Optic Association. If you are working on an IIJA/BEAD program contact us for a special package of educational materials for your staff.

The NTIA Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the BEAD Program - ONLY FTTH Projects Need Apply

You are going to see the term "NTIA NOFO" a lot now. It will refer to the document describing the NTIA $43billion fund for broadband. If you are at all interested in the program, we suggest you download a copy and read it yourself. We did and found it extremely interesting.

The first thing we did was to search the PDF file for "fiber" to see if fiber optics was called out specifically. We found 10 locations where fiber was mentioned and we found these most interesting reading:

Page 7:
With respect to the deployment of last-mile broadband infrastructure, the Program prioritizes projects designed to provide fiber connectivity directly to the end user.

Page 14:
The term “Priority Broadband Project” means a project that will provision service via end-to-end fiber-optic facilities to each end-user premises.(Footnote 9)

Footnote 9: A project that will rely entirely on fiber-optic technology to each end-user premises will ensure that the network built by the project can easily scale speeds over time to meet the evolving connectivity needs of households and businesses and support the deployment of 5G, successor wireless technologies, and other advanced services.

Page 42:
NTIA has determined that “Priority Broadband Projects” are those that use end-to-end fiber-optic architecture. Only end-to-end fiber will “ensure that the network built by the project can easily scale speeds over time to ... meet the evolving connectivity needs of households and businesses” and “support the deployment of 5G, successor wireless technologies, and other advanced services.

There will be fiber: that's very important to those seeking grants and to organizations like the FOA who will be involved in OJT and workforce development for these projects.

Page 66: (Dig Once is called out also)
Any Funded Network deployment project that involves laying fiber-optic cables or conduit underground or along a roadway must include interspersed conduit access points at regular and short intervals for interconnection by unaffiliated entities. Where a project proposes to lay conduit, Eligible Entities shall require prospective subgrantees to propose to deploy a reasonable amount of excess conduit capacity and to propose a conduit access point interval as part of the grant application process and shall consider the adequacy of the prospective subgrantee’s proposed excess conduit capacity and access points when evaluating the application.

  NTIA Broadband USA Website 

Pew Charitable Trusts' Broadband Education and Training Initiative Helps States Increase High-Speed Internet Access (3/22)

Pew Charitable Trust's peer-to-peer learning network offers research and guidance for state government leaders.

As $billions of broadband funding flows to states as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, delivering high-speed internet access to all Americans has never been more achievable. But the opportunity before state leaders comes with significant challenges. Policymakers in each of the states must establish or expand broadband programs, train staff, and navigate local priorities, all while adhering to federal requirements.

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ broadband education and training initiative (BETI), launched in August 2021, provides no-cost support to help states make the most of historic increases in state and federal funding. BETI is built on a foundation of Pew research highlighting a set of effective strategies and provides staff training, facilitated expert and peer-to-peer engagement, and technical assistance on a wide range of topics, from state broadband program design to data collection.

The resources and guidance collected here will help states identify and adopt evidence-based strategies to effectively administer federal funds, accelerating the nation’s progress toward universal, affordable broadband connectivity. More than 2 dozen states are already working with Pew's BETI program.

To join or learn more about BETI, please email Jake Varn at

Read more about the BETI Program.     BETI Project home page.

The PEW Charitable Trusts also tracks the availability of state grants available for broadband expansion. Read more here and look at the links to state programs.

US Broadband Infrastructure Initiative:

Biden Administration Releases Guidebook on Infrastructure Law Implementation (3/22)


The US is allocating lots of money for infrastructure projects including $45billion for broadband infrastructure, especially underserved areas like rural. The Biden Administration has released a Guidebook to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in an effort to help interested parties understand the law. This guidebook will show the funding and programs available and how to utilize the information. States and local governments will be using this information to determine what is applicable to them. The Administration will be updating this guidebook regularly when new information becomes available.

Here is a link to the Broadband section of the Guidebook.

Here is a link to the entire Guidebook.

Broadband Funding Information From The Source

Andy Berke, new Special Representative for Broadband at NTIA and former Mayor of the first Gig City, Chattanooga, Tennessee spoke recently at a meeting sponsored by Next Century Cities, an organization whose name explains its focus well. Mr. Berke's presentation provides an extremely concise, comprehensive and clear explanation of the broadband parts of the IIJA (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) that every interested party should read.

For example, many know the program will provide funds to state agencies for investment, but did you know that there are requirements for 25% matching funds or that networks  must offer 100/20 Mb/s service and gig service to anchor institutions?


Read Mr. Berke's presentation here on the Next Century Cities website.


Biden Administration Releases Guidebook on Infrastructure Law Implementation  

Here is a link to the Broadband section of the Guidebook.
Here is a link to the entire Guidebook.

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

Mapping Broadband In The US, State By State
Next Century Cities has completed a survey of broadband in the US by state because the FCC data is widely known to be inaccurate. Next Century Cities (“NCC”) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that advocates for fast, affordable, and reliable broadband Internet access across the U.S. They work alongside local officials in communities of all sizes and political stripes to eliminate the digital divide. As NCC has documented in filings and publications, the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or “Commission”) maps have long told a different story of broadband access than what residents across the country actually experience. It is widely known that the FCC’s broadband availability data understates the seriousness of, and lacks granularity to adequately address, persistent gaps in connectivity. Read the NCC Report here. Use this link if you want to jump to the report for a particular state.

FOA FTTH/Broadband Resources

Note: Most of the material in the links below assumes the reader has a general knowledge of fiber optics and fiber optic networks. Id you need some background, we recommend you start with two self-study courses at Fiber U, FOA's free online learning site.

Introduction To Fiber Optics In Communications  

Basic Fiber Optics  

FOA page on workforce development

Articles from the FOA Newsletter

FOA Newsletter

March 2022 Is Rural Only Farms?

February 2022 Helping Make Rural Broadband Possible -
New FOA Technical/Educational Materials For Those Planning Rural Broadband

January 2022 - California Announces 18 Middle Mile Projects To Bridge Digital Divide (mostly rural)

June 2021 - FTTH Special Issue  (FTTH Tech Update covering new equipment and network architectures for rural FTTH.

November/December 2021 - Fiber To The Village in Nepal, $Billions For Broadband In US (But don't hold your breath!)

August, 2021   - Rural FTTH Special Issue

July 2021 - Broadband Internet in California, California Broadband Council report

March 2021 - Can Tapping Fiber Reduce Cost?  How Many Fibers? Optimal cable Size. 

FOA FTTH Handbook

FOA's FTTH Handbook: We've gathered all our information on FTTH from the FOA Guide and past issues of the FOA Newsletter and edited it into a 112 page "FTTH Handbook." We even added new sections on planning, designing and managing FTTH Projects. An entire chapter is devoted to DIY (do-it-yourself) FTTH projects in rural areas. English and Spanish editions.
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions.
La Asociación de Fibra Óptica Manual de Fibra Hasta el Hogar : Para Planificadores, Gestores, Diseñadores, Instaladores y Operadores De FTTH  Amazon

FOA Guide
The FOA Guide is FOA's extensive knowledge base on fiber optics, with almost 1,000 pages of technical information. It's written by FOA's worldwide network of technical advisors and is non-commercial, just reliable technical information from experienced fiber techs, many of whom are teaching the subject.

Here are some topics related to broadband:

FTTH (Fiber To The Home)                                     
Fiber to the home (FTTH) Overview,   
FTTH Introduction
FTTH Architectures,
FTTH PON Standards, Specifications and Protocols,
FTTH Network Design
FTTH Installation
FTTH Customer Premises Installation  
FTTH Testing  ,
FTTH Case Studies: Do-It-Yourself FTTH  
FTTH Project Management   

There is also a section on Fiber For Wireless Networks. that covers both cellular and WiFi networks.                                 

Fiber U

Fiber U is FOA's Free Online Learning Site, with over two dozen free self-study courses starting with the Basics of Fiber Optics and including a number of courses on technical skills and applications of fiber optics.

Free Online "FTTH" Course on Fiber U

Free Online "Fiber For Wireless" Course on Fiber U

Fiber U online courses
Take the Fiber U FTTH course and Certificate Test FREE
Fiber U self-study courses themselves have always been free, but we have charged for the Fiber U Certificate of Completion test which uses an online testing service. So everyone can take advantage of all the new and updated FTTH materials we've created, FOA will offer the testing for the Fiber U Certificate of Completion for the Fiber U FTTx self-study course free to everyone completing the course. Tell your employees, customers, everybody!


Designing FTTH Networks? If you are involved in the design of FTTH networks but new to fiber optics, start with the Fiber U Fiber Optic Network Design course then take the Fiber U FTTx self-study course.

FOA YouTube Channel
FOA Videos On YouTube

FOA has a YouTube channel with over 100 videos on fiber optics, including 70+ lectures and many technical instructional videos. Including are these videos on Fiber Optics:

FOA's YouTube Channel:
Lecture 25: FTTx - Fiber To The Home, Premises, Curb, Business, etc.(Overview)
Lecture 63 FTTH Network Architectures  
Lecture 64 FTTH Passive Optical Networks (PONs) 
Lecture 65 FTTH Network Design 
Lecture 66 FTTH Network Installation and Test  
Lecture 70 Rural Broadband- Obstacles and Opportunities  


Contact the FOA  

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