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July 2023

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Recognized as a Telecom Tech
Bead Funding Announced & Analyzed
How Many Fiber Techs Do We Really Need?
Hype? We Have Lobbyists
The Last Word On Hype
Wisdom From The Street
What Does Rural FTTH Cost?
The Cost Of Middle Mile Construction
New Fiber U MiniCourse on Jargon
FOA Schools Map
Links To Resources On Broadband

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

Classes At 3 FOA Schools
Comm College Grads Earn More
Using Fiber To Stimulate Disabled Kids
OLAN Market Growing, Changing
Launch of ViaSat-3 - The "Terabit Satellite"
Next in FTTH - Mergers & Acquisitions
ISE Expo 2023
Global Excavation Safety Conference 2024
FiberWizards Online Programs

Bad Aerial Cable Installation
Expanding Fiber Capacity With L-Band
Microtrenching More Vulnerable To Cuts?
NATE Video On Work Zone Protection
Instructor-Built Fiber Network Simulator
New AFL One Click Cleaners
Installation Tool For Cables
Problems With Old & High Fiber Count Cables?
Links For High Level Engineers
Managing Projects - Gantt Charts
FOA Color Code Guides
FOA Online Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Questions from our readers

Always Interesting!

New FOA-Approved Schools,
Fiber U MiniCourses
New FOA Technical Resources


About the FOA

FOA Certified Techs

CFOT Total

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?
Special offer - 1/3 Off Renewal

See FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs Web Page has been updated and a new page added on Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics

Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics? FOA talks about all the applications for fiber optics, what jobs involve and the qualifications for the workers in the field in this YouTube video.

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Trademarks: The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online learning site) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.

 FOA Reference Books
Available Printed or eBooks
The fiber book is available in Spanish and French

FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book FOA
                          Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book
FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book
                        on Fiber Optic Testing FOA
                            Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction
                            Guide  Lennie Lightwave

Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are now also available as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle
                        Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

FOA Videos on videos

FOA is a member of:

TIA Online
FTTH Council

The FOA Newsletter is edited by Jim Hayes - send your stories, leads, ideas, comments to <jim @>
Jim Hayes

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Highlights from the FOA Newsletter in 2022  

Multiple bullets hit Xfinity fiber cable, causing outage in Oakland   (February 22)
More Thoughts On Broadband For Rural Areas (March 22) (June 22)
Fiber Optics In The Movies - Star Wars Special Effects (March 22)
Fiber Optics Again Helps Find A Famous Shipwreck (April 22)
Thinking About A Fiber Optic Project?  Better Get Started Soon (April 22)
AT&T Says Good-bye To Copper (April 22)
More Pole Stories And Photos (May 22)
Why Stop At Gigabits? Let's Design Fiber Networks For Terabits (July 22)
Understanding The Fiber Optic Workforce (August 22)
Does the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) truly benefit people in rural America? (September 22)
Can Wireless Compete With Fiber? Satellites? (October 22)
What is Certification/How Do you Learn (November 22)
School Special Issue (with photos) (December 22)

New Fiber U Self Study Programs

Fiber Characterization (for long distance, high speed networks)
Minicourses: Attenuators, Reference Cables, Project Management 
Fiber Optic Jargon
December 2022 Special Feature: A Salute To FOA's Schools And Training Organizations  

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

To keep your FOA certifications active, you need to renew them when they expire. Now we have a new more convenient way to renew - an online store at Paypal - where you can quickly and conveniently use your PayPal account or your credit card to renew your certifications.

Renew online with a credit card or PayPal

Join FOA On  Social Media

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has 3 LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official page on LinkedIn - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)

Don't miss News and Technical this month!

We begin this month with how FOA is working behind the scenes to help the fiber optic industry.

You Will Now Be Recognized As A Telecom Tech

For two decades, the FOA has worked with the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to help define the job of fiber optic technicians. When we began, the BLS had put fiber optic technicians in a category with "Lineman," a term from a century ago that referred to installers of aerial electrical transmission and distribution cables. When telephone technicians were added, they went into that category since most cables were installed up in the air on poles too. Fiber installers just followed the copper telephone techs since fiber was replacing copper wires.

Around 2000, BLS contacted FOA to help define the job of a fiber optic tech and we began what became a long term project to define the jobs. From the beginning, we worked to help identify the differences between fiber techs and electrical lineman, something we knew well because of our close relationship with the IBEW, NECA and their apprenticeship training programs, JATCs. But the combination of these two groups made getting good statistical data on the different jobs difficult.

Over this long time period, FOA has had many conversations with BLS personnel and helped to refine the job descriptions, but always quietly emphasizing the need to separate them. Finally this year, we had a new analyst contact us and we had new ammunition - the IIJA/BEAD programs - which was already on their minds. Everybody has been talking about the shortage of fiber techs needed to build out the broadband networks that are being funded (see below) so the importance of this job category was finally being recognized.

FOA submitted proposed revisions to the BLS job definition and had several long phone conversations. We explained that fiber techs were involved in several different parts of a project, designing, installing and operating the network. We explained the dependence of wireless on fiber and their dominance in modern communications. In these calls, the conclusion was that a new category would be for communications workers so we invited the CWA (Communications Workers of America) to participate. Together we worked out the details for a new category of Telecommunications Technicians that would include fiber optic and wireless techs working in a broad spectrum of jobs in communications.

Last month we heard from our BLS contact: 
We received approval on the title of “Telecommunications Technicians” for the new combined profile. My updates and revisions are going through the review process and the new profile will be released with our updated employment projections data on September 6th. I have to give you credit for this. Your comments prompted BLS to consider the change and to add the additional occupation.

Going forward, we should be able to point people to the BLS website to explain what jobs are like in fiber and wireless and soon have better jobs data from the Department of Labor. Having a unique job category will also help organizations like the workforce and broadband agencies in each state to define training programs when applying for broadband grants.

FOA is proud to have been able to get these changes made. It will make a real difference.

BEAD Funding For The States Announced And Analyzed

Note: All our international readers who might think this article doesn't have relevance to them might just be interested in the information analysis here and how it relates to the cost of broadband wherever you are.)

While we're on the subject of hype, nothing in the US has been hyped more in the last year than the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program. The NTIA just published the allocation of funds for the BEAD program and we've been getting about ten emails a day from organizations offering to help states spend that money. That's now FOA's role; we're here to help you decide how to efficiently spend the allocated funds and train a workforce to do the work designing, installing and operating it.

However, there is a lot of information in the data released including a complete breakdown by state. FOA has been tracking system installation costs with all the FTTH and broadband networks we have worked with and the BEAD funding announcement has a wealth of information about projected costs.

We have taken the information from the BEAD announcement and put it in a spreadsheet along with some relevant census data to analyze. We looked at allocations per state, per population and per unserved population and unserved household. We'll summarize the information here but you can download our spreadsheet and look at or analyze all the data yourself.

Let's start with a graph:

BEAD per household

This is the distribution of money allocated per unserved household for 49 states. Alaska is "off the charts" figuratively as well as literally - at least in this chart - at $75,343 per household.

The average amount allocated is $6645 and the median is $4797 including Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, etc. The big difference between the average and the median is the skewed data from the extremely high costs in the rural states as you can see below.

Here is some actual data:

State        $Amount Per Unserved Household

Top 10
Alaska               75344
Wyoming           20707
Montana           13977
West Virginia    12355
Vermont            9420
Idaho                 8453
Washington       8185
Mississippi        7815
Missouri            7717
Utah                  7214

Bottom 10
Tennessee         2641
California           2319
Pennsylvania     2234
Florida               1943
Maryland           1859
Ohio                  1837
Connecticut       1287
New Jersey       1076
New York           959
Massachusetts  752

As expected, the highest cost per unserved household is in rural states where the least amount of infrastructure exists already and the lowest cost are for the most progressive states that have already done much of the work building broadband networks (remember Tennessee has TVA which was a driving force behind the cities like Chattanooga adopting FTTH early).

If these numbers seem high, remember the money will be sent to states which will allocate the funds and cover all their overhead managing the projects.

You can download our spreadsheet (XLSX file zipped, 34kB) and analyze the data yourself.

For more interesting cost data, see "What does A Rural FTTH Connection Cost?" below.

How Many Techs Do We Really Need To Connect All These New Users?

As we were analyzing this data, we heard that someone mentioned in a meeting with the government agencies last month that America needs another 200,000 techs to complete this project. A couple of years ago, a service provider said it needed 850,000. Does that make sense?

If you analyze the BEAD data from NTIA, they give the dollar amount available to every state and their analysis of the percentage of users in each state that were unserved or underserved. We analyzed the NTIA data with the census numbers again in our spreadsheet and discovered that the number of households included in the NTIA estimates was only approximately 10.3 million households out of the total of 128 million households the US census says are in the US. 
download our spreadsheet

It was reported by a trade association recently that last year was a banner year for FTTH in America with almost 8 million new subscribers connected on fiber. That's a pretty big number.

So if the current workforce can connect 8 million users in a year at the same time they are building dozens of new data centers, long lengths of OSP networks, 5G cellular systems, municipal systems, etc,, why do we need to double or triple the number of available fiber techs in the workforce?

And that BEAD money is going to take 5 years or more to be spent on actual projects. That means we're looking at a ~25-30% increase in FTTH connections each year, not a doubling or tripling of current work like some are saying.

We do have a problem of workers retiring and need replacements; that is why FOA is trying to get more technical high schools and colleges to teach teleocm programs - we need more young people joining our fiber and telecom workforce.

But 200,000 or 850,000 new techs right now? Does that make sense? Or is it just more hype, perhaps hoping to take advantage of the training money set aside in the federal funding for broadband?

FOA's work with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (above) will help us understand the fiber optic workforce and that will be instrumental in recruiting and training the people we really need.

And if you want to see how to develop a fiber optic workforce, read about FOA's program with the Kentucky Wired project working with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. (FOA Has Proven Results In Fiber Optic Workforce Development, FOA Newsletter, June 2023)

What Happens When You Have Lobbyists

A newsletter from NATE, the Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association, surprised us with the news that some legislator(s) in Ohio attached a provision in the 2024-25 budget bill, HB 23, which would limit future state broadband funding to fiber-only projects. Whose lobbyist came up with this crazy idea?

NATE and a coalition of other industry associations sent a letter to Ohio legislators protesting the provision, noting "While fiber will be a critical component of every state broadband program, it is not the only technology capable of bridging the digital divide and comes with its own set of tradeoffs. We encourage states to adopt flexible rules that will allow the greatest number of applicants to apply for these funds to increase competition and give states the maximum number of tools at their disposal."

Had NATE or any of the other organizes signing the letter contacted FOA, we would have signed it also. While we represent the fiber optic workforce, we are not unrealistic; communications of all kinds and broadband in particular require a broad spectrum of infrastructure types to work properly. Relying on only one and making it law is merely indicating ignorance of how the communications system works.

(Remember the quote from US Senator Ted Stevens about the Internet in 2006: "It's a series of tubes.")

FOA Guide To Fiber Broadband

Maybe this coalition needs to send copies of the FOA Book Fiber Broadband to every Ohio Legislator! Our book explains how all the communications infrastructure works together to create our networks.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) For Fiber Optics?

AI (artificial intelligence) has replaced 5G and autonomous vehicles as the #1 subject of hype. Can AI replace all us writers, solve the worlds problems or will it bring about the apocalypse? It can cause problems for students when asked to write their essays and lawyers by making up legal cases. It can fake art, photographs and films. Remember Norman, the psychopath MIT AI we've covered in this newsletter before?

It might take your job if you work at a keyboard, but it's unlikely to be trained to install fiber optic networks.

Properly trained and directed, AI might actually be very helpful in designing fiber optic networks. FOA Instructor Jerry Morla has been looking into AI and has written an article for FOA about AI in fiber optic network design. It's a good article to read to help understand AI.

Wisdom From The Street

While walking down the street near the FOA office, we found this cable laying in the gutter. What a find! A short length of Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable left over from an installation by a contractor.

Corning RR Cable

We brought the cable back to our office with the intention of opening it up and creating a video about the construction of this modern high fiber count cable, but something got our attention first. The cable had a very long line of printing on it with lots of interesting and useful information. So before we started deconstructing it, we decided to photograph the printed information and interpret it.

Corning RR Cable

Click on the photo above for a bigger photo. Or read on.

Corning RR Cable

The text on the cable starts with the Corning product name "Corning Rocket Ribbon (TM) Optical Cable," date of manufacture "01/2022" and a serial or build number. The phone handset graphic denotes this as a telecom cable.

Corning RR Cable

Here is the most important information:
  • 864F means the cable contains 864 fibers
  • SM means singlemode fiber
  • 250 means the fiber has a 250 micron buffer coating
  • 0.89IN means the cable has a diameter of 0.89 inches (metric would be in mm)
  • 206 LB/KFT means the cable weighs 206 pounds per 1000 feet (metric would be kg/km)
  • MBD 27IN means the minimum bend diameter is 27 inches (metric would be in mm or cm)
  • 600LBF means the maximum pulling tension is rated at 600 pounds (metric would be in Newtons)

There is a lot of information in those few inches along the cable, information that every installer needs to know.

Since it is an OSP cable, we assume it is singlemode fiber, of course.

When you are fusion splicing this cable you need to know the coating diameter for choosing the proper fixturing for your fusion splicing machine.

The weight of the cable is important if the cable is being lashed to a messenger because it is used to calculate loading on the messenger and can determine the size and tension on the messenger.

minimum bend diameter is important if the cable is being coiled or pulled over a capstan, sheaves or blocks. And the pulling tension applies if the cable is pulled, not in the case of aerial installation like this one.

Corning RR cable

The next text is the cable model number and the length.
"SR-5B9MR-864" is a Corning SST (Single tube) UltraRibbon Gel-Free Cable with low water peak fiber.

And finally, the cable has distance marked - "00030 FEET" - on this cable it's updated every 2 feet. knowing how much cable is on the reel or the distance at the other end of the cable on the reel allows keeping track of how much cable was used and how much was left.

Here is an excellent example of why you need to learn to read cables. There is a lot of useful information and some is critical for proper installation of the cable. On the next job, take a minute and read the cable you are installing; you might learn something interesting and useful too.

Note: This is an outside plant cable. Indoor cables should have similar information but also include some note of being tested for flammability such as a UL registration.

Next we will continue examining and dissecting this cable - maybe next month.

What does A Rural FTTH Connection Cost?

That's a very complicated question, because "rural" has a lot of meanings. Is it a small town where building a FTTH Network is easy or remote users in Alaska? An interesting set of data was made available this month from the US Department of Agriculture, announcing $700 million in grants and loans  in the 4th round of the ReConnect Program.

Included in the announcement was a link to a full listing of the awards. This document gives not only what state got the grant or loan, but the value of the loan and the description of the project including how many homes, businesses, farms and educational institutions were included in the grant.

To analyze the data, we copied it into a spreadsheet. We calculated the cost of each connection to be served and here is what we found.


Grant $millions













































































































































Interesting, eh?

What Does The Middle Mile Cost?

Update, new information (7/23):

A new US government grant has been announced for middle mile construction: $930 million for 12,000 miles of networks in multiple states including Alaska. That's $77,500 per mile. LA Times.

The Maine Online Optical Statewide Enabling Network (MOOSE Net) is a new strategic initiative created by the Maine Connectivity Authority to develop a $53 million project to construct the MOOSE Net that includes 530 miles of fiber. That's $100,000 per mile but includes connections. Maine MOOSE Net.

That, of course, is an impossible question to answer. But one can find interesting data from public contracts. California is building about 10,000 miles (~16,000 km) of middle mile fiber networks around the state, primarily using roadways for routes. The state just announced that 5 contracts were awarded covering 5,200 miles (~8,400 km) and they provided information on the geographic region of the contracts, mileage and contract amount.

Contract Amount
Miles (km)
Northern CA
(mostly rural)
Bay Area to Nevada
(highly urban to rural)
Central Valley
(rural, farming,
small/medium towns)
Southern CA
Los Angeles, Ventura
Orange Counties
(dense urban, suburban
little rural)
So CA (more rural,
farming, desert)

Not surprisingly, the flat rural Central Valley and Rural/desert areas come in the lowest, urban areas are higher, but the surprise is the Northern California area which is rural, but also rugged terrain, comes in high also.

You can read the California Dept. of Technology announcement here.

New Fiber U MiniCourse - Fiber Optic Jargon

There is a new MiniCourse at Fiber U - Fiber Optic Jargon. Jargon is the most important thing you need to learn when you learn about a new technology. This short Fiber U MiniCourse is intended to introduce you to fiber optic jargon and make learning about fiber much easier. It's aimed at novices but is a good refresher for even experienced techs.

New Fiber U MiniCourse Fiber Optic Project Management  

FOA's World Map Of Approved Training Schools Updated  


FOA has updated its online interactive map showing the FOA approved schools around the world. The new map shows the location of FOA schools, allows zooming in on a location and now includes a search function that allows locating a school by name or location. Once you locate a school, you can click on the school name and link to their website.

FOA's School Map 

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband (Paperback and Kindle)

FOA Guide To Fiber BroadbandHow 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 who 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 ($12.95) and Kindle ($9.95) versions available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version is in color!

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U    FOA Videos Guide.

FOA  has a web page with resources on fiber broadband and the IIJA/BEAD funding programs.

FOA Newsletter Sections

News     Technical    Worth Reading    Q&A    Training/FiberU    Resoures    Safety   About


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

Springtime is a busy time for FOA schools. Here are some photos from recent classes and a news article about one FOA school offering training in the trades.

The city of Albany, GA technicians are now 100% FOA certified


The city of Albany, Georgia recognizes the importance of having FOA certified technicians. Brierwood Technical, FOA School #277 has been working with the city for sometime. We have trained their technicians in several specialties including installation, fiber testing and splicing. We are proud that the city continues to trust Brierwood with their training.

Brierwood trains Albany GA

Brierwood instructor Dominique McGregor conducts a hands-on lab for Albany, GA fiber techs.

Brierwood trains Albany GA

Wake Tech CFOT Class Tours Sumitomo Factory

Wake Tech CFOT class tours Sumitomo factory

After the fusion splicing hands-on class at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, NC, delivered by FOA Instructor Gilberto "GG" Guitarte and Senior Instructor at SUMITOMO Mr Demond Lofton as special guest, the group of nine students were invited by SUMITOMO to visit its fiber cable manufacturing plant in Raleigh.

The students were impressed with the R&D and manufacturing  site as well as having the chance of seeing in person the birth of a 3,456 fiber cable in the night shift visit on June 15 !

At the end of the tour, the group had their picture taken and "Gilberto" is, as usual, sporting his personal "yellow FOA hardhat."

Skyline College Students Complete Spring Semester FOA CPCT Certification Class

Skyline College is one of three sister colleges within the San Mateo County Community College District, in San Mateo County, California; the district is located on the peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. Skyline is one of the many schools now adopting the FOA CPCT program. Besides LAN wiring, it covers fiber optics and wireless for DAS, WiFi, etc. The CPCT curriculum is also used for training techs for FTTH subscriber installation in the home.

Instructors Radni Pirehabdollahkandi is on the right and Dean Scurries is on the left.

Community College Grads Can Earn More Than Elite University Peers

After a yearlong training program at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Elijah Calderon is poised to earn about $105,000 annually as a power lineman. Once he becomes a journeyman in three to four years, he stands to make about $165,000 — and potentially much more with overtime. His chosen field in the community college system will propel him to the top 5% of wage earners among recent California college graduates — outearning many who attended the most prestigious universities in the state and the nation.

Students climbing poles

As millions of high school and college students graduate this month to pursue higher education or launch newly minted careers, the data highlight the powerful role that their majors play in determining post-graduate earnings regardless of the prestige of the institutions they attend. The analysis comes amid growing scrutiny over the value of college degrees — and whether higher education is worth the rising costs.
Los Angeles Trade-Technical College has been one of the many technical and community colleges in the FOA network of approved schools for more than a decade. Besides the electrical tech major featured is this article in the LA Times, LATTC offers majors that include courses in fiber optics with a FOA CFOT certification and premises cabling for a FOA CPCT certification.

“It really pays to look at outcomes and not be blinded by the brand name,” said Martin Van Der Werf of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. “The best brand name doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to result in the highest life earnings.”

Read more in the LA Times newspaper.

Teachers And Therapists Use Fiber Optics To Stimulate  Kids With Disabilities


FOA received an inquiry from a group that works with kids with disabilities about the safety of this gadget. We were puzzled by what this fiber optic lighting device was being use for, but they explained it was used to stimulate kids with disabilities who were fascinated by its colors and the movement when they played with the 100 strands of plastic optical  fiber (POF) illuminated by a source with a color wheel that varied the colors of each fiber. The fiber was also a special type with defects that creates sparkles along its length.

The device is made by Enabling Devices, a company that specializes in products that help people with disabilities participate fully in the world. They offer a range of sensory products that are chosen to help people with disabilities. They offer a number of fiber optic devices including this one, called a UV Reactive Fiber Optic Spray (watch the beginning of the video to see how it works), as well as sensory walls and colorful cascades using POF.

FOA helped them understand the safety issues and how to use this device safely.

More at Enabling Devices

Optical LAN Market Shows Healthy Growth, Just Not In Offices

Periodically since 2015, APOLAN, the trade group for optical LANs, has commissioned research by the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) to examine the Optical LAN market. Since BSRIA first researched Optical LAN in 2011, the market has grown annually except for 2020, when it experienced a mild contraction of less than 3% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following that brief decline, the market accelerated, more than doubling between 2019 and 2022.

OLAN Market
The OLAN market has shifted since before the pandemic. As expected the "Work-from-home" movement has emptied office buildings and stymied LAN installations, but education, hospitals, industrial and public spaces are growing substantially.

Read more about the APOLAN market survey.

Space-X Falcon Heavy Launches ViaSat-3 Satellite - First "Terabit Internet Satellite"

VIASAT-3 Space News

On April 30, a Space-X Falcon Heavy rocket launched a new ViaSat-3 satellite into orbit. This satellite is not small - it weights 6,400kg (14,000 pounds) - and must be the first "Terabit Satellite," offering 1,000 gigabits/second of capacity, triple that of its ViaSat-2 predecessors.

This ViaSat-3 will be in geostationary orbit over the Americas and two more are scheduled for launch to cover Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia. It is expected to take several more weeks to deploy the satellite and ready it for service. (Space News)  Large geostationary satellites sit above one spot on the ground and cover large areas with their antennas. ViaSat can cover most of the world with 3 satellites.

ViaSat Ground Network ViaSat

But like all satellites, geostationary satellites rely on ground stations connected on fiber optic networks - around 100 for ViaSat-3 - to provide communications to/from the satellite. The ground network plays the vital role of accepting signals from the satellite and managing traffic to and from the internet. It’s made up of a collection of earth stations, also known as gateways or satellite access nodes (SANs) connected to the internet by fiber optic cable. Antennas at each of the SAN sites serve as the connection between the user and the internet." (ViaSat)

A terabit of bandwidth is enormous - equal to hundreds of times as much as many ISPs and capable of supporting millions of users, as long as they are not all trying to stream HDTV at once. In fact, if users don't stream, continuing to use satellite TV services for entertainment, this is a viable option for most rural users.

For anyone living in a rural area, we highly recommend looking into this as a broadband option that is available today. Here is more information on ViaSat Internet service.


What's Next In FTTH - Mergers & Acquisitions?

Steve Ross has an interesting article in Broadband Communities that speculates on this possibility in light of all the money flowing into broadband ISPs now. It's interesting reading.

Read more in Broadband Properties  

Registration Open For ISE Expo 2023

ISE Expo 2023

ISE EXPO 2023, the OSP telecom conference, showcases the next wave of disruptive products, technologies and solutions for todays' and future networks. It's a conference for the professional who plans, builds, operates and maintains these networks. At ISE EXPO 2023 you can see, touch and demo new products, technologies and solutions for telecom networks.
Join ISE EXPO 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri, and experience why network professionals from around the globe attend our engaging seminars, commanding keynote presentations, solutions-based vendors and face-to-face networking.

More about ISE Expo 2023 (and early bird discounts)

Global Excavation Safety Conference 2024 in New Orleans

Excavation Safety Show 2024

Global Excavation Safety Conference will be held in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, from March 19-21, 2024. This is an opportunity for damage prevention & excavation safety professionals from all over the world to come together and learn, network, and share their knowledge and expertise in this vitally important field.

More info on Global ESC 2024

Looking for a good online fiber optic course? The FiberWizards Essentials - CFOT Prep Course could be a solution

How do you get new hires up to speed quickly? Continue training current employees and prepare them for the certification your customers are requiring? OJT - On-The-Job-Training. - is the usual answer, but an OJT program like the FOA's OJT-To-Cert program - requires a commitment from experienced techs and supervisors to ensure the techs stay on course.

FiberWizards Fiber Optic Technician OJT Course

FOA Master Instructor and Director Jerry Morla has a solution that can work for most companies, the "FiberWizards Essentials - CFOT Prep Course."  Students will get lots of flexibility to learn on their own terms with a very tailored and personalized experience including one-on-one coaching, virtual presentations, online modules, and access to a private Slack channel for support.

Students will get a lab kit when they join, to explore behaviors of light in fiber on their own. If the students need equipment to complete the hands-on part of the course, FiberWizards  offers rentals of equipment and consumables kits for students within the Continental US.

For companies who need to train their fiber techs but lack the time commitment needed from their top techs, which is practically all of them, the FiberWizards course could be a very good - and cost effective - solution.

FiberWizards Essentials - CFOT Prep Course 


Fiber optic technology, standards, equipment, installation, etc.

The FOA Update Page covers the new technology and applications we covered in this newsletter recently. Now you can review all that new tech at once.


Cross Reference To FOA Technical Reference Materials

The FOA has almost 1,000 pages of technical information on the FOA Guide, 100+ videos and two dozen online courses at Fiber U, all this can make it difficult to find the right information.

Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
To help this, we have created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.
Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Videos
We have also rearranged the 100+ FOA videos in similar categories on the Contents Page of the Online Guide, making the videos, especially the lectures, much it much easier to find a video on a particular topic. 
FOA Videos Guide.

Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on Fiber U®

Sponsored Content

OptConn LogoOptConn is a value-add re-seller of optical connectivity products, services and solutions. With over 30 years of experience in the fiber optics industry we are here to serve your requirements from fiber optic training with FOA certification to products, materials and supplies.

We have partnerships with industry leading manufacturers to support your installation, splicing and testing needs. Our goal is to guide, support and recognized our client’s requirements.

Learn more about OptConn  

Note: FOA has run many articles and photos about poor installation of aerial cables. Here is a report about similar problems in Eastern Europe.

Bad Examples of Aerial Construction In FTTH Networks In Eastern Europe

Vladimir Grozdanovic

An aerial FTTH network is the most common way of FTTH network deployment. Generally, aerial FTTH networks are built in rural and sub-rural areas. However, in many countries around the world, aerial optical networks are also present in urban areas, especially in developing countries, because aerial FTTH networks present a simple and inexpensive solution. This article will examine the problems of poor installation practices of FTTH networks in the emerging economies. 

There are many causes that lead to the poor installation of FTTH networks. Many telecommunication operators want to cut the costs and use low-quality, incomplete or inadequate equipment, as well as untrained staff. Insufficient or improper planning of optical networks is an additional problem. The operator installs an optical cable with insufficient number of optical fibers, so later, a new cable has to be installed. The consequences are visible across the network on every pole in town.

Furthermore, many cities have multiple telecommunication operators, and each operator uses their own optical cables. There is no single optical infrastructure. Frequently, operators use two or more cables and there are differences in equipment, such as optical closures and optical distribution boxes on the same pole, as shown in Figure 1.

The issue of improper installation of FTTH networks can lead to serious negative effects. The sheer amount of equipment present on a pole leads to more complicated technicians’ workload. It may also pose safety concerns for the those working on site. Another consequence of this practice is an overall unappealing urban landscape. The examples that follow will illustrate these points.


See more examples and read the rest of the article here.

Vladimir Grozdanovic is a graduate electrical engineer for telecommunications with more than 10 years of experience in access networks (HFC and FTTH) in large cable operators in Serbia (SBB and Jotel).

Expanding Fiber Capacity With L-Band Transmission

The wavelengths used in fiber optics have been developed with the components used - the fiber and the lasers used for transmission. Over time, we've added capacity - starting with 850 nm multimode, adding 1300 nm multimode for lower loss at longer wavelengths. Singlemode began at 1310 nm where lasers were already available and the fiber was created to be singlemode above around 1260nm (core size is the primary determining factor in cutoff wavelength). Singlemode moved to 1550 nm for longer distances made possible with the lower attenuation of fiber at longer wavelengths. Over time, we've added DWDM and CWDM, fiber has reduced the OH loss at 1383 nm to allow use there, and now we're seeing other wavelengths above 1550 nm being considered.

Infonera - Bands
Infinera diagram of fiber wavelength bands.

To understand the wavelengths, the wavelength spectrum used is divided into "bands" as explained in the FOA Guide. Two recent articles by Infinera, a maker of transceivers, go into more depth on how these bands were developed and about how the longer wavelength "L-band" at above 1550 nm is now being utilitzed.

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Optical Transmission Bands.  by Infinera

Application note on using the L-band to expand network capacity.


Microtrenching - More Vulnerable To Cable Cuts?


Germany may be having more problems with dig-ops because of microtrenching, although the real problem may be documenting the cable plant and contractors not using available location information before beginning digging.
A recent article in Cabling Installation & Maintenance has news from Germany that Deutsche Teleom cables installed by microtrenching are vulnerable because they are "just a hands-breadth under the asphalt." The article further states that Germany has around 100,000 accidental cable cuts per year.

This is of course a problem everywhere, but especially in urban areas, even worse in older urban areas. Streets re full of fiber and copper communications cables, electrical cables, water, sewer and gas pipes. Careful documentation is vitally important but so is checking the local "Call Before You Dig" service and using locating instruments before digging begins.

Read more in Cabling Installation & Maintenance

NATE Video On Work Zone Protection

Work Zone Protection

NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association announced today the official release of a video on Work Zone Protection. The video shines a spotlight on the safety best practices associated with Work Zone Protection, specifically relating to the appropriate use of temporary traffic control devices, proper signage, the type of PPE safety gear technicians working in these environments are required to wear, and the different scenarios workers are confronted with while deploying fiber, network equipment, and communications infrastructure in areas near pedestrian and traffic flow.

Watch the video here

Instructor Built Network Simulator

fiber optic network simulator

FOA trained instructors often develop their own training aids like this network simulator developed by an instructor at
Teléfonos de México. He sent us this photo and offers this description:

"My name is Omar Jove, I am from Mexico and I am currently working at Teléfonos de México as a Fiber Optic Instructor since 2008. I am certified FOA # 1422129. Based on the training experience, especially with OTDR, I developed and carried out a idea of two portable fiber optic models to simulate fibers of a real link and to be able to do the tests with real fibers; I found that this helps to better understand the topics, since the didactic situation allows the participants to do the tests on the mockups and better understand the relevant concepts, parameters and topics such as a loss budget. I would like to show you this project, which has worked very well for me in training. "

New AFL Cleaners Should Improve Productivity

Cleaning is one of the most important tasks for a fiber tech, checking connectors for cleanliness before connecting them or testing them is important to get the best performance. But cleaning can be time consuming. The "One Click" cleaners are a very good and popular solution. Now AFL has made them even better.

AFL One-Click Fiber Optic Cleaner

The new compact AFL One-Click Cleaner PRO: High-performance cleaner is built for speed and efficiency. It features an integrated guide cap design that reduces cleaning time up to 50% by eliminating constant switching of caps for cleaning the ferrule end-face on connectors, either in or out of bulkhead adapters. The One-Click Cleaner Pro boasts 775+ cleaning cycles in an ergonomic push-type cleaner, which is a significant increase from the previous model's 500 clean limitation.

Read more at AFL.

Installation Tool For Single Fiber Cables

Pul-R Technologies has created an interesting tool to assist in installing fiber optic - and copper - cables. "Helipuller(TM) is a simple plastic gadget that protects the connector, grips the cable and allows pulling a patchcord safely, especially through walls often encountered in FTTH installations.


The Helipuller for an SC cable is shown above. It protects the connector and the helical grip holds the cable for pulling with up to 30 pounds of tension. Accessories incliude a tip to attach a pull rope or a stiff rod for pulling.


Installation is simple - drop the connector in the head of the gadget, fit the cable in the helical grip and you are ready to pull the cable. After pulling, release the cable and use the grip again and again.

More information:
Pul-R Technologies

Problems With Old Cables And New High Fiber Count Cables?

A FOA CFOT reported that they have been doing fiber characterization testing on cable plants that include both old and new fibers, a common result from building out from a legacy cable plant. One surprising result was that some relatively short links are showing CD and PMD problems even when only short segments of the cable plant are older fibers. PMD has become an issue as speeds increase but earlier fibers we not optimized to prevent PMD. This is just another reason to do fiber characterization before trying to upgrade network speeds. (There is more information on Fiber Characterization in the FOA Guide and a fiber characterization course on Fiber U.

We're also hearing rumors that the new high fiber cables are getting fibers broken during installation with the possible cause(s) being exceeding bend radius or pulling tension, using improper installation equipment or maybe even the cable designs. We're investigating this and will report back in the near future. But please ensure installers follow manufacturer's recommendations carefully. Check out the information on cable specs in the article in this issue and the article on Bending Diameter in the FOA Guide.

Special For High Level Techs And Engineers:

Standards and Testing Photonic ICs  

Point to Multipoint Networks at Infinera  

Managing Fiber Optic Projects - The Gantt Chart

(With An Excel File To Make Your Own)

The most common way to track projects is the Gantt Chart, a chart of activities that tracks the progress of projects along a timeline. each activity is represented by a bar and the position and length of the bar represents the starting date and duration of the activity. This allows you to see what activities are needed for the project, when the activities start and end so it can be used to track the progress of the project visually. Here is what a Gantt Chart for a fiber project might look like:

Fiber Optic Gantt Chart

You might remember an article in the FOA Newsletter in April 2022 or the FOA Guide page on Project Management about the timing of a fiber optic project where we showed the progression of steps in a project like this:

The Gantt Chart above is simply this list converted to a Gantt Chart using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can download a copy of the FOA Gantt Chart spreadsheet (xlsx file - 16kB) and use it to create your own Gantt Chart for any project. All you have to do is to input your own data and change the activity names as necessary. You can also follow the directions from Microsoft to create your own version.

More Help On Color Codes (Including Copper Cabling And Fiber Optics)

The FOA has created a print-your-own pocket guide to fiber optic color codes. It has color codes for fibers and buffer tubes, connectors and premises cables inside and on the back, QR codes to take you directly to the FOA Guide and Fiber U.

FOA Color Codes Guide card 

The FOA Guide page on Fiber Optic Color Codes is one of the most read pages on the FOA website and the Fiber Optic Color Codes minicourse on Fiber U very popular also.

Here's a do-it-yourself FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Color Codes card. Just download the PDF file, print it on a color printer and fold it up as shown. Then you have your own pocket guide to color codes. Make a bunch for your co-workers too.

Color codes U-print  FOA Color Code Card  color code card UTP

Then we realized that many of your also do structured cabling work, so it was a natural to add a Color Code Guide for UTP copper cabling in printable (below) and electronic (above) versions.

color codes

But we did not stop there. We know how many of you use your mobile devices on the job, so we created a version of the Color Code Guide you could download and use on your smartphone or tablet. It's a PDF file, so you just download it and save it on your device and it will be with you always.

Here are the links to download your own FOA Guides to Fiber Optic Color Codes
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (electronic version for your smartphone, tablet or PC) PDF  

And For UTP Cabling

FOA Guide to UTP Cabling Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to UTP Copper Cabling Color Codes (electronic version) PDF

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration


FOA received an inquiry about whether techs working on restoring OSP links should be concerned about eye safety if the link used fiber amplifiers. To answer this question, we had to do some research on fiber amplifiers. The short answer is YES, you should be concerned. The long answer is more technical and includes details that every OSP tech needs to know.

See "Fiber Amps And Restoration" in the FOA Newsletter Archives..

Try The FOA's Online Loss Budget Calculator

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We've created a online Loss Budget Calculator that does the work for you. Just input your cable plant data and it calculates the loss budget. It works on any device, especially smartphones and tablets for field use and even allows printing the results.

                        Loss Budget Calculator

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online

Worth Reading

Each month we read hundreds of newsletters and online articles. These are the ones we think you will find "worth reading."

FOA  has a web page with resources on fiber broadband networks and the IIJA/BEAD funding programs.

Cross Reference Guide to FOA Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optic History  and the new FOA video "The History Of Fiber Optics"

Fiber or copper?  AT&T PR photo from the mid 1970s

The FOA's History

Worth Reading (And Watching):

July 2023

Can Our Industry Develop Fiber Talent?, FOA President Jim Hayes' May/June column, ISE magazine.

Why the U.S. Electric Grid Isn’t Ready for the Energy Transition NYTimes, Electric vehicles, heating, etc. are being promoted as climate friendly alternatives to fossil fuels if the eelctric supply is from renewable sources, but can the grid handle that?

Tech majors are booming, but rural students stuck in the digital divide, The Hill. Rural students face two pressing issues: the digital divide of internet reliability and technology access and education opportunities.

Skills Based Hiring, Southland Data Processing, Skills based hiring involves screening job candidates based on whether or not they possess the necessary skills to accomplish job requirements.

In U.S. cities, residents are paying $84/mo. for 365 Mbps on average, ALLCONNECT

Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth,  2022 ANNUAL REPORT. U.S. Department of Commerce.
National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Cable Gore REDDIT Will make you groan....

And a number of articles on 5G:

The Tech Friend: 5G is a dud Washington Post

Ericsson Slashes 5G Outlook by 400M Subscribers. 

The challenges of 5G monetization: Is enterprise the answer? 

June 2023

Bringing FTTH Broadband to Remote and Rugged Areas - Broadband Properties - By Michael A. Solitro, CEO of Sertex Broadband Solutions.

NTIA Says State Muni-Bans Won’t Delay BEAD Funding - ILSR says "Maybe"

AT&T claims satellite-direct-to-phone deal with AST SpaceMobile in FCC waiver filing -

AFL Creates Video Classroom Online The AFL Classroom showcases products, solutions and AFL value propositions

Treasury Department Announces Approval of Federal Funding to Connect 127,000 California Homes and Businesses to Affordable, High-Speed Internet 

US Proposes Designating Portion of Radio Spectrum for 5G in the Americas If approved, the proposal could enable countries in the Americas to use the band to deploy 5G mobile services.

Significant progress reported on California middle-mile network - CA Dept of Technology

Recent Case of Severe Microwave Syndrome Reveals Problems With 5G - Epoch Health -
One woman's recent illness highlights the issue of only considering radiofrequency radiation's thermal effects

The Summer edition of Excavation Safety Magazine is online  

May 2923

Do You Believe In Magic? Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Jim Hayes's column in March/April ISE Magazine.

After federal investment, supply chain jams and labor shortages still hinder tribal broadband access - Marketplace on Public Radio

Fiber To The Office (FTTO) On A College Campus In The Netherlands - NEXANS

Bipartisan Push To Make Broadband Grants Tax Exempt Moves Forward - ILSR COmmunity Networks (Something overlooked in the original program!)

Special For High Level Techs And Engineers:

Standards and Testing Photonic ICs  

Point to Multipoint Networks at Infinera  

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023  - 
You can also buy copies - Telegeography

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023

March 2023

serves the business needs of the Broadband industry (including traditional cable TV, fiber, telecom and satellite providers) with employment listings, classified ads, discussion forums, and more. A contractor told us it's where they find lots of opportunities for subcontracting.

The Secret to Future Proofing,
by Jim Hayes, FOA President,  ISE Magazine

The 45 Year Old Overnight Sensation - article by FOA President Jim Hayes in ISE Magazine
(Read the complete Nov/Dec issue of ISE Magazine here.

Fiber optics take the pulse of the planet It’s like radar, but with light. Distributed acoustic sensing — DAS — picks up tremors from volcanoes, quaking ice and deep-sea faults, as well as traffic rumbles and whale calls. Knowable Magazine.

From Earlier Issues

ESRI has created an ebook on GIS location technology for telecom. Use the link to download the book.

The First Transcontinental Telephone Line  began operation on  July 29th in 1915 - 3400 miles between New York and San Francisco - required over 100,000 telephone poles! Wonders of World Engineering

Conocimiento Esencial: ¿Por qué la fibra óptica?  creado por FiberWizards 

Recruiting And Training Today's Fiber Optic Workforce - Learn the fundamentals to recruit and train new fiber optics - by FOA's Jim Hayes in ISE Magazine.

Explosive Fiber Broadband Expansion Drives Need for Fiber Technician Training Programs - Telecompetitor - As fiber sees record-setting deployment levels, the demand for fiber optic technicians is stronger than ever.

Google Video On Their Undersea Cables YouTube Slick but interesting video on how undersea cables are designed, built and used.

Construction Without Disruption - FOA President Jim Hayes' column in ISE Magazine

Fiber Optics Installed By The Lowest Bidder  - ISE Magazine - by Jim Hayes, FOA President.

Building Broadband During Component and Worker Shortages - Broadband Communities - Completing broadband builds requires competent fiber optic techs, but training them requires understanding how they learn - by Jim Hayes, FOA President.

Worth Reading - Magazines, Websites and Newsletters

CABL® ( serves the business needs of the Broadband industry (including traditional cable TV, fiber, telecom and satellite providers) with employment listings, classified ads, discussion forums, and more. A contractor told us it's where they find lots of opportunities for subcontracting.

  dpPro Magazine

The latest Issue of dP-PRO, the "call before you dig" magazine, is online.

dpPro sponsors the annual digging safety conference each year - next year in Tampa.

Safety conference 2023

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish

Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin America and South America. Jose Enriquez, editor of  Todo Fibra Optic magazine has many years experience in the fiber optic industry so he knows the industry well. FOA will be working with him to share our extensive technical materials in Spanish.

Read their newsletter here. It is now available online in English and Spanish.


All issues and subscriptions.

José Manuel Enriquez Mora, Editor
Todo Fibra Optica LLC
+52 222 302 8224

RTI Telecom Magazine from  Brazil, in Portuguese
. A revista RTI do mês de abril já está disponível online e recomendo a leitura de alguns artigos: 

1995-2020 - FOA's 25th Anniversary!

As part of celebrating 25 years of serving the fiber optic industry as its primary source of technical information and independent certifying body, FOA thought it appropriate to create a short history of the organization and how it has developed  to help the fiber optic industry. We also wanted to recognize the contributions many people have made to the organization over the years that made FOA what it is today.

The FOA history is now archived on the FOA website where you can read it anytime or link to it.
Updated info - dB, total internal reflection and science projects,

Worth Reading - News Summary - Past Links Worth Repeating

1983 Video of AT&T's First Test Of A Submarine Cable System From the AT&T Tech Channel archives (worth exploring!)

Richard Epworth's Optical Fiber History from his work at STL from 1966 with Charles Kao.

Communications Systems Grounding Rules: Article 800 provides specific requirements  by Michael Johnston,  NECA Executive Director of Standards and Safety in EC Magazine

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History

In the August 2021 FOA Newsletter, we published a lengthy article on rural broadband and compared it to rural electrification in America in the last century. Much of the comparison was based on an article written in 1940 by a USDA economist, Robert Beall, called "Rural Electrification." 

If you are interested in or involved in rural broadband, we recommend you read the article "How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History" in the August 2021 FOA Newsletter and read the Beall article also.

Recycling Fiber Optic Cable -
Steve Maginnis
LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling
(Visit website)

Sumitomo's Ribbon Splicing Guide - download from one of the leaders in splicing.

"Who Lost Lucent?: The Decline of America's Telecom Equipment Industry"
This is a MUST READ for managers in telecom or any industry!

This long and well-researched and annotated article in American Affairs Journal should be mandatory reading for every high level manager in a telecom company - or any other company for that matter. To summarize the article, today, America has no major telecom equipment company and fears the major suppliers of equipment who are all foreign, especially the Huawei from China. This article explains how America got into this deplorable state.

OFS also has an excellent website and blog of tech articles worth browsing.

IEC 60050 - International Electrotechnical Vocabulary - An extensive dictionary for fiber optics in English and French. Highly technical - this is one definition: "mode - one solution of Maxwell's equations, representing an electromagnetic field in a certain space domain and belonging to a family of independent solutions defined by specified boundary conditions"

If you are interested in restoration - aren't we all? - you should also read this article in dpPro magazine by FOA President Jim Hayes: Damage Protection Requies Looking Overheas As Well As Underground - dpPRO Magazine - about the problems with aerial cables. His previous article for the magazine was New Techniques for Fiber Optic Installation.

How much fiber optic cable is manufactured each year? CRU Reports - unsurprisingly China is by far the largest market today

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance weekly newsletter has lots of interesting articles and links.

Universal access to broadband is a cornerstone to a strong economy, Achieving universal access will require community partnerships. by
Alfreda B. Norman, Sr. VP,  Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

FIBER TO THE FARM: The co-ops that electrified Depression-era farms are now building rural internet. Be sure to check out the high-tech equine installation equipment.

Next Century Cities Newsletter - News from cities around the US including Detroit and New York plus small

Infrastructure Get Some Respect, NY TImes "On Tech"   "The magic of the internet requires a lot of very boring stuff behind the scenes. "

DIRT Report On Damage To Utilities Common Ground Alliance (CGA) annual DIRT report provides a summary and analysis of the events submitted into CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) for the year 2018. The complete report is available for download here. In addition, there is an interactive dashboard that allows users to filter the data more  by factors contributing to damages.

Structured Cabling News - a website and weekly newsletter about cabling.

Fiber Trivia From Corning.

The Future Of Work Is Skills - So Stop Worrying About Degrees - The reality is the future of work is about skills, not just degrees. (FOA Newsletter Feb 2020)

The job market is hot. So why are half of U.S. grads missing out?  

VIAVI Books On Fiber Optic Testing (2 volumes) - They're back!

books  book 2

Besides the FOA reference materials, two JDSU/VIAVI textbooks, Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing, Volumes 1 and 2,  were used as references for some of the FOA courses and are recommended for instructors and students. The books are available from VIAVI as eBooks and the everyone should download them and recommend them to others.Download yours now. Volume 1. Volume 2. Viavi Books

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

Guidebook To MPO Testing OptoTest offers this complete guide to MTP®/MPO testing. In this guide, you will learn all there is to know about the different test methods, equipment options, troubleshooting, and best maintenance practices to ensure that you have the best testing experience. Go here to download the book.

50th Anniversary of The Development of Low Loss Fibers
A history of the development of low loss fiber, a fascinating story by Jeff Hecht on the OSA (Optical Society of America) website.

How OFS Makes Fiber

Interesting YouTube video on how fiber is made. Perhaps a little too much "show biz" but fascinating. If you have ever seen fiber manufacture, look at this video. You will be amazed at how big preforms have become!

The True Cost of Telco Damages (what backhoe fade or target practice can cost)

Rural Electric Cooperatives: Pole Attachment Policies and Issues, June 2019.

Clearfield-FOA Certification Training Clearfield is now offering their customers an FOA CERTIFICATION course. This course provides a basic understanding of fiber optic technology, as well as Clearfield product knowledge and how Clearfield’s integrated product systems work together in a fiber network.

Substandard Contractors - Fiber Optic Knowledge Doesn't Always Trickle Down  (EC Mag)


When readers ask us questions, we genrally refer them to FOA resources where they can find the answer to their question and many more. We first send them to the FOA Guide which is the table of contents for the FOA technical resources. There they can find pages indexed by topic and a search engine for the FOA website. It also links them to FOA videos and courses on our free online learning site Fiber U.

The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQs = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us (which first ran in this newsletter) and adds tech topics of general interest.

Good Question!

Tech Questions/Comments From FOA Newsletter Readers 

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  

July 2023

Transmitting Multiple Data Types
How do you integrate fiber optic digital communications with other sensing and control systems and platforms?
A: Fiber optic networks generally have lots of bandwidth and sensors and control systems generally do not require much bandwidth. The mixing of data streams is generally done by multiplexing the data using electronics on each end, but one can also do it with wavelength division multiplexing.

OTDR Dead Sone
Q: What is dead zone when using OTDR?
A: The "dead zone" is the length of fiber near the OTDR that is blanked out by the overload from the test pules. See this page on OTDRs in the FOA Online Guide:

Using A Visual fault lOcator
What are the best practices for using a VFL to locate fiber faults?
See in the FOA Online Guide

Distances Between Manholes
Q: W
hat is the standard or max distance between manholes and handholes for fiber optic cable?
There are no hard rules, but the distances are determined by a number of factors. In populated areas, the manholes or handholes would be situated where you need drops line in front of a building or a splitter pint for FTTH or conversion from underground to aerial or underwater cables. From a viewpoint of how far you can go, it’s determined by: 1. The length of cable on the reel (typically ~5km max, maybe further for smaller cables, shorter for higher fiber count cables.  2. The type of the duct, cable and method of installation for underground. That includes the type of duct, lubricant used, the number of corners passed, pulling equipment (pulled or blown)  and the tupe of cable - most limited to 600 pound tension. Cable manufacturers and American Polywater (lubricants) are good sources of information here. 3. Aerial cable can have quite long spans, esp. using the moving reel method, which can be limited by the length on the spool.

June 2023

PON Testing
When testing upstream back to the CO on a PON, how can we get a good OTDR trace if the primary splitter (nearest one to ODF) has a 2:8 split ratio rather than the usual 1:8?
It's just like looking at a 1X2 downstream - you will see the combined traces of each fiber. If the second port is for testing, it may be short and connector, so it will not affect the longer trace very much. If it's the same length and used as a spare, you need to test each fiber downstream to the splitter. Nothing is easy with OTDRs and splitters!

Fiber Splicing Cost
What is the standard of costing for fiber splicing and terminations? Is it per core / per splice or per each cable end irrespective of the number of cores?
That is a very hard question to answer, other than to say ”it depends. ” The number of fibers is definitely a factor because each fiber must be stripped, cleaned, cleaved and spliced then placed in the splice tray.
It also depends on:
  • Single fiber or ribbon splicing?
  • Type of splice closure
  • Type of cable (loose tube, ribbon, flexible ribbon, high density, armored, ADSS, etc.)
  • Installation: aerial or underground
  • Location: urban or rural
  • Set up time (same for low fiber count cable as high fiber count cable)
Most contracts will be considering the number of fibers but also these factors, and probably they want to price by the number of fibers, but the price per splice will vary accordingly. We've seen quotes in the US for prices varying over a 10X range.

FTTH Network Design Course
I would like some advice on how to develop a responsive curriculum involving FTTH network design.
FOA has lots of free resources you can use. Fiber U offers free online courses in FTTH and Fiber Optic Network Design that can be used to develop your courses using blended learning - online and classroom work blended. The courses cover all aspects of these topics and include lesson quizzes. The Design course includes a dozen case studies ideal for student assignment, including one on FTTH. You can also begin with other courses like Basic FIber Optics and Outside Plant Fiber Optics and Outside Plant Construction. The Fiber U courses draw on material in the FOA Online Guide where you will find many other pages of useful information.
Teaching a course on FTTH and FTTH Network Design is easy using this material. The Design labs don’t require equipment; just use the case studies we provide and develop more of your own.

Color Blind Fiber Tech
Can someone who is color blind become a fiber tech? Aren't all cables color coded?
A: There are various types of color blindness (remember all the charts with different dots at the eye doctor’s?) that don’t necessarily mean you cannot distinguish the color codes used in fiber. Only a test with actual components would really tell that - and remember that colors are different from some processes - some are faint and some brilliant - that may affect how they are perceived. The variation among colors can often still be distinguished by color blind people depending on the situation.  I personally would not discourage anyone from taking a course because they are color blind. They can check their ability to distinguish colors used in fiber optics here.

Markers Required For Underground Fiber Optic Cables?
Q: Are signs required for underground cables like fiber optic cables? Are they required to have signage so people don’t dig them up or damage them?
A: In the US the answer is NO. There is no Federal or State law which requires marking anything other than hazardous liquids and gases. It is purely a business decision or a moral decision to invest in signs/markers to protect buried fiber. If a fiber gets cut it can disrupt 911 service and all kinds of vital communication related to hospitals, air traffic control, etc.

May 2023

Reflectance Testing
Q: Do you know whether anyone has compared the reflectance measurement determine by the OTDR calculation to that make with a reflectance test set?
A: Measuring reflectance/return loss is a complex task requiring measurement over a high dynamic range with limited accuracy. We devoted a 15 page chapter to it in the testing book. The problem is establishing a reference - like most other tests - but the uncertainty is probably no better than +/-3dB.
Here is a place where the OTDR measurement is probably the preferred method because the test is made with mated connectors compared to the backscatter background and the meter/source/spitter measurement has to compensate for cable lengths and the reflectance from the far end of the mated cable which needs termination (dip in index matching fluid) to prevent that reflectance from affecting the measurement.

Testing OM2/3/4 Multimode Fiber
Q: Is there any loss concerns when mating an OM2 fiber to an OM4 fiber (vs using the same type only).
The question applies to both use of an LED source and an VCSEL laser source. We can assume it is only for short fiber lengths (< 25meters)
A: OM2, OM3 and OM4 fibers have the same basic specifications. Based on this specification, the two fibers are geometrically identical and there should be no difference between them.
However, about 10 years ago, multimode fiber was introduced with bend-insensitive structure.  Today almost all multimode fiber is bend-insensitive. Earlier MM fibers, including the OM2 fibers, are not bend-insensitive. Unlike SM fiber, where bend-insensitive singlemode fiber is given an different designation - G.652 becomes G.657 - multimode fiber is not differentiated between regular and bend-insensitive, cables are not marked, and it takes a knowledgeable tech with a microscope to tell the difference.
Until recently, testing standards called for test reference cables to be non-BI fiber because the early BI fibers simply added a lower index trench around the core to capture the lost modes which gave them a larger core diameter and higher effective NA and these fibers did not respond the same way to traditional mandrel wrap mode filters - in fact the specified mandrel wrap had virtually no effect at all. When non-BI fibers were tested with BI fibers, the effective core diameters produced directional loss effects. Over a decade, MMF manufacturers learned more about BI fiber structure and modified the index profile of the fiber to essentially make BI fiber about the same as non-BI fiber. In addition, mode control was changed to encircled flux controlled sources instead of mandrel wrap mode filters, which was more effective  with both fibers.
So recently, MM testing standards have changed. You can use whatever 50/125 fiber you have to test OM2, OM3 and OM4 fiber.

Fiber On Road Markings?
Q: Can this work? Intergrate fibre into road marking ie white line/double line . Have a very low profile skid resistant duct that replaces the line markings.
Every street can have a fibre connection from the main backbone. The fibre can be used to feed line markers for traffic, warn of impending incidences and used for colour coding speed limits.
A: Google Fiber tried something like that in Louisville, KY. It did not turn out well.

Starting A FIber Business
Q: Where would I take a workshop about how to start my own fiber business? How to start, what you need, where to buy, what machinery? Anything like that exist?
A: Starting a fiber optic business is basically like starting any other business. There are many local classes for business owners about starting and running a business  at community colleges or other educational groups. If you are already involved in fiber optics, you should have contacts for tools. equipment and components. If you are not familiar with the fiber optic business already, we’d recommend you get a few years experience in the field first.

Course On OSP & OSP Construction
Q: Do you offer a course geared towards newer OSP engineers that covers the different network architecture options, aerial vs. underground network topologies, splicing diagrams, theory, equipment, jargon, etc. ?
A: FOA has courses on Fiber U on both OSP & OSP Construction. Many of our schools offer courses on Design or OSP installation, but we do not have many that offer OSP Construction courses due to the facilities needed. We have a program in process but few schools have the resources to offer it.

April 2023

Electromagnetic Interference
Q: Is there and electromagnetic interference with optic cables?
A: The fiber is glass and the cable is plastic, neither of which are affected by electromagnetic interference. There is a cable used in electrical transmission lines called OPGW- optical power ground wire - that has fiber inside a wire conducting high voltage - doesn’t bother the fiber at all.

Bandwidth Issues
Q: We are having transmission problems on long fiber runs with mixes of fiber types. Ideas?
A: Perhaps the problem is simply the total bandwidth of the fiber. If the long spans are G.652, it will probably have CD and perhaps PMD issues. It’s worth doing fiber characterization tests on it. See this page in the FOA Guide: If you are over 100G, coherent transmission might overcome the problems with bandwidth.

Can we get the following information from OTDR tests?
1. Attenuation
Yes, see
2. Chromatic dispersion (Need some help )
On some special OTDRs with mulitple wavelengths - see
3. Polarisation mode dispersion (Need some help)
Not on any we know about. Also see

March 2023

Fiber Optic Network Maintenance
I am in the middle of building a set of documents for Fiber Optic Internet Services and one of the areas needed is a template for supporting the outside plant facilities. Might there be a template of must-haves for any service provider or municipality to have as part of their maintenance agreements once the network build and construction is finished?
That’s a good topic to cover in agreements. When people ask us what maintenance fiber optic networks need, we usually tell them “build it, lock it up and forget it.” In other words what some people have suggested for maintenance for fiber optic networks, like periodic testing or cleaning of connectors, is more likely to cause damage than help. Preparing for restoration, however, is vitally important. Every day several fiber optic cables are cut by other construction.
Here are a few links from the FOA Guide that may be useful:
Fiber Optic Network Management   (For Managers)
User's Guide To Fiber Optic Networks
Restoration (planning & implementing)

Converting RF To Fiber
I would like to convert our SATCOM System to RFoF.  Currently we use our antenna to receive from 2 RF ports on the antenna, DC-6Ghz, and 6-20Ghz.  We also have other antennas that are configured to do DC - 1Ghz, and 1-Ghz.  Currently we are doing testing with an RfOptic RFoF converter on the 1-6Ghz with great results.  Currently we are just doing lab testing as our operational systems are all RF with COAX.
Converting from coax to fiber is generally easy because the application is widespread and components easy to get. The model for what you are doing might be the Fiber to the Antenna (FTTA) application for the wireless services. See this for an example:

Documenting Fiber Optic Cable Plants
I am looking for information or training materials on documentation standards for OSP cable.  We currently have a number of large backbone cables along with mid span cables.  I know companies like the phone company labels each cable with a number and terminals off of the mid span drop with the specific pair numbers.  Is there a standard way to label each cable, mid span cable, splice box, terminal, etc.?
The usual way is to document every fiber in every cable with a fiber designation, color code and connections on each end. There are some standards on numbering schemes but most companies I know use their own designations created as they got started. There are software packages that will do this work, simplifying the process,

February 2023

FOA Technical Materials Updates
How often are FOA courses (such as CFOS/D) updated? And when they get updated, what happens to those who would have done a previous version?
A: The FOA knowledge base is updated continuously, reflected first in the FOA Guide online (FOA Guide), then in the curriculum materials for courses at our FOA Approved training organizations and Fiber U (Fiber U). Textbooks are updated every few years, generally just tech updates, but sometimes with major additions like the large section on OSP construction added into the OSP book.
If you took your certification a few years ago, there are new courses at Fiber U and a FOA Update Page that we use for new information that was first published in the newsletter. And of course reading the FOA Monthly Newsletter FOA News will help keep you up to date on fiber optic tech and applications.

Measuring Short Cables WIth A Long Launch Cable
Is it correct to measure a 300m fiber optic last mile with a 2Km launch cable? I think it is not, but I’d like to hear your comments.
A: Why would you think it is not correct?
Q: A 2Km launch box must be used with a 20uS pulse width, to eliminate the dead zone. Shorter pulse widths are too “weak” so the OYDR will not reach the end of the link. That’s why I think it’s not correct using the 2Km launch box in links shorter than 80Km/90Km.
A: You have cause and effect reversed. If you are trying to measure a very long fiber, 80-90km, you need a lot of power in the OTDR pulse, so you use a very wide pulse. In order to get past the dead zone with that long pulse, you need a long launch cable, like 2 km. But if you are trying to measure a short cable, say 300m, you use a very short pulse, 5ns or so, for higher resolution. The OTDR range would only need to be a few km, so the shorter pulse works. As long as the OTDR range is longer than the launch cable plus the cable to test, it’s perfectly OK. A shorter launch cable would work and might even allow a shorter test pulse for higher resolution, but the length of the launch cable only needs to be long enough to reach past the dead zone and allow measuring the cable you want to test.


January 2023

Fiber In Antarctica
Q: Does anyone know if there is any cable solution to be installed in Antarctica? The climatic conditions involve installing the cable directly on the ground, withstanding temperatures as low as -30° Celsius.
A: There have been fiber optic cables in the Antarctic for over 25 years. In the 1990s, the fiber optic test equipment company FOTEC built a computerized test  system that was installed at Amundsen-Scott base to test about a half-dozen cables over the winter. All worked fine. A few years ago we met the engineer who installed it at a conference. She told me some of those cables were still being used.

December 2022

Seeing Splices On OTDR Traces
Q: The reason why I am reaching out is because the CEI is having trouble understanding that not all trace files will show splices. As we both know that means that there is low loss and the network will work more efficiently. I was wondering if you could possibly help give a more in depth explanation so everyone can understand why they are not seeing splices.
A: Nothing in fiber optics is more confusing that an OTDR trace!
First it is necessary to understand how the OTDR measures loss, so start on this page in the FOA Guide: When you get about 3/4 down the page, there is a section called “OTDR Measwurement Uncertainty”  that explains the way a splice loss is measured and the uncertainty of the measurement caused by the difference in backscatter coefficient in the two fibers being spliced.
Next consider how a splice is made - fusing or welding two fibers together. The typical loss of the splice is under 0.1 dB. The difference in fiber backscatter can cause directional loss variations higher that the loss of the splice. If the difference in backscatter is 0.1 dB and the splice loss is 0.1 dB, in one direction it will show 0 dB loss and in the other directin it will show 0.2 dB loss, so the average is about right, 0.1 dB. This is of course how we get “gainers” when the backscatter difference is much higher than the splice loss.
But also consider this. The OTDR digitizes the signals in both axes. If the dB range shown is 40dB and the digitization is 10 bits, each bit represents 0.04 dB. A good fusion splice can be so small, the OTDR cannot detect it because it is less than 1 bit of the measurement resolution.
This is the reason we tell people that documentation is so important. If you know where the splice is, you can look for it and pat yourself on the back if you can’t find it because you are so good at splicing!

What is the application for 10G to the home?
What is the application for 10G to the home?  Streaming 4K requires 25M, even a family of 8, each watching their own program would only require 200M.
A: The use of 10G is not just for bragging rights. With 10G, you can serve up to 256 (or sometimes more) users, making it a viable alternative for very dense populations. Of course, it can also serve fewer business users who want higher bandwidth than regular GPON.
Utility damages slightly increased since 2019, per DIRT Report
The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) recently announced the findings from its 2021 Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report, and the datas indicates that damages have increased since 2019.

November 2022

Fiber Characterization
After installing a long haul backbone fibre, what tests are required on the fibre plant to ensure optimum performance of DWDM. (I understand the need for having OTDR traces.) Are there any FOA Guides that explore such tests?
FOA has a page in the FOA Guide covering this kind of testing - it’s called “fiber characterization.” The page is Fiber Characterization and Testing long haul networks (CD, PMD, Spectral Attenuation)

Mating Cycles
I’m a NASA contractor and recently we came across a interesting and yet perplexing question.  Does a connector lose a mate cycle every time we put it under the scope for a cleanliness inspection?  We want to catalogue each time we lose a mating cycle and wondered if that counted as well. 
No you would not lose a mating cycle. The connector is well separated from the lens of the microscope. If they touched, it would disturb any dirt on the end of the connector you were trying to inspect and get the microscope lens dirty. A mating cycle is only when mated to another connector - PC and APC connectors have contact between the polished fiber ends and that is what causes wear. Microscopes should not cause mating, not should most power meters for testing, but test sources and meters with fiber pigtails for connections would count as a mating cycle.

Removing Data Center Cables
I’m wrecking out fiber optic cables at the data center.  They get very tangled if the connectors are intact. Co-workers are cutting the connectors off to make pulling the fiber optic cables through the fiber troughs easier. I was concerned about fiber shards when connectors are cut off.
Cutting off connectors should not produce fiber shards. The plastic coatings on the fiber should keep that from happening. It is OK to cut off connectors or cut the cables into shorter lengths to ease the removal of tangled cables.

Connecting OS1/OS2 SM Fiber
Can OS1 and OS2 fibers be cross-connected?  Application is for low bandwidth devices with a maximum of 1GB Ethernet connections.
OS1 and. OS2 (G.652) fibers are essentially the same geometrically; the only difference is the manufacturing of OS2 removes the water molecules that cause the water peak at 1244 and 1383 nm.

FTTH Software
Do you have any recommendations on FTTH software? A search shows a dozen or more offerings but I don’t know anyone using them. Are you familiar with any?
We asked several people who are knowledgeable on software and here is what they said:
It would depend on the application or what you need the software for…
  • For GIS based mapping: Esri
  • For fiber network management systems (FNMS [design/planning and operations]): OSPinsight or Vetro
  • For automated HL design: OSPInsight as well as Biarri
  • For Tier 1 type telecom operator FNMS with BSS/OSS integration: Ericsson NE (Networks) which was based on old Tirks. Another is NetCracker.
  • For GIS enabled construction / project Management: Vitruvi
If I had to start a small to mid sized FTTH system, I would consider ESRI and OSPInsight.

October 2022

How Light travels In An Optical Fiber
Is there a generalised ratio between the length of an optic fibre and the length of the path actually taken by a light pulse inside that fibre? If yes, do OTDRs factor in such differences in any way? or they such sown the length of the actual path of the light pulses?
Each optical fiber has an effective independent of refraction. The index of refraction is the ratio of the speed of light to the speed of light in the material: n=c/v where n=index of refraction, c=speed of light in a vacuum and v=speed of light in the fiber.
For an optical fiber, the manufacturer measures the index of refraction which is usually in the range of 1.47. Corning SMF-28 singlemdoe fiber for example is specified at 1.4670 @ 1310 nm and 1.4677 @ 1550 nm.
So if you use the equation above, the speed of light in SMF-28 fiber for a 1310nm pulse is c/n or 300,000 km/s divided by 1.4670 = 204,500 km/s.
When an OTDR measures length, it actually measures the time its test pulse takes to go to the end of the fiber and return, so the distance is 2X the actual fiber length. The distance is speed x time.
If a fiber is 1 km long and the speed is 204,500 km/s, the  time forlight to travel the 1km is 1/204500 = 0.00000489 seconds or about 5 milliseconds.
OTDR will measure that fiber as 10 ms becasue its pulse has to go both ways, and it would calculate the length as i km, using that effective index of refraction of 1.4670.
Back to your original question, the index of refraction is the generalized number based on how light travels in the fiber.

Excess Cable In Ducts
Q: Do you have any established characterization on the ratio of the length of optic fibre to the length of its duct (to account for twisting of the fibre inside the duct).
A: The cable after pulling into the duct and no longer under tension will be about 1-2% longer. And remember the fiber is about 1% longer than the cable.

Slack/Service Loops In Manholes
Q: What is the recommended percentage of slack left in manholes for longhaul transmission links?
A: Not so much a percentage as actual length. If it includes a splice, the fiber which will be stored in service loops need to be long enough to conveniently do the splicing outside the manhole - typically 10-15m for each cable. If there is no splice but just provision to pull the cable back down conduit to repair a dig-up during restoration, the distances should be about the same or maybe a bit longer - say 20m of cable..

Do APC Connectors Show Reflectance On An OTDR Trace?
I was testing a 500meter cable with 1000m launch. In the first event the otdr sensed a splice loss instead of a connector and reflectance. The connector is APC . Is it possible to have no reflectance at all. Pulse at 10ns and duration of 15secs.
A: A good APC connector can show no reflectance. One of our instructors who wrote the OTDR training course when he was at AT&T did some tests for FOA a few years ago. Here are two traces that show the reflectance is so low it is in the noise of the trace.

APC Trace

September 2022

Splicing Pigtails On A Cable
I seem to be having an issue finding fiber protection sleeves that can slide over the 3mm patch cable.  I bought a sleeve that said it with made for “single fiber fusion” but the thru hole which I would side the cable thru prior to fusion is too small for the patch cable.  When I try and look on-line for specifications for the thru-hole size, prior to fusion final melting of the glue in the sleeve, all I find are post-melting diameters, none which are even close to being able to handle the 3mm patch cable.
A: Splicing pigtails involves splicing the fibers only and the cables are secured separately. The usual method of splicing on pigtails is to splice the fibers and use the heat shrink tube to seal the splice and the fibers from the outside air and protect it from stress. The splice is placed in a splice tray. On either side, there is 2-3 feet of fiber exposed from the cables being spliced. The splice tray has clamps for all of the cables being spliced on the edges of the tray and the fiber to the splice is coiled neatly on the splice tray. The jacket of the pigtail is clamped at the edge of the splice tray but  ends there, so only fiber is coiled in the tray. If you try to coil fiber, the bulk of the cable can get to be a problem where it’s coiled with the bare fiber. You can get heat shrink protectors for fibers of 250 to 900 micron diameter buffers, but not for jacketed cables.

Important Questions From The Past

Managing And Maintaining a Fiber Optic Cable Plant During Its Lifetime.
Q: Are there guides / recommendations for optic fibre cable life cycle management? (outside plant) including rehabilitation / replacement timelines together with factors that may alter those timelines ( such as seismic activity, extreme weather, human activity-induced fibre cuts etc) also including typical performance deterioration over the life cycle, and the performance levels at which replacement / rehabilitation happens. Or does it happen (and is it normally expected) that operators replace entire sections of fibre (say 400 km) as part of routine maintenance?

A: There is a saying here in the US that in fiber optics “the most common cause of failure is “backhoe fade” in underground cables and  “target practice” for aerial cables.” In other words, damage caused by humans. We know of many fiber optic cable plants that have survived natural disasters like earthquakes - in fact there is a lot of work today using regular cables used in communications to monitor for seismic activity. Fire can be a problem in remote areas, but often it’s because the poles are burned causing the cables to fall.

Over the years we have questioned cable manufacturers about the lifetime of fiber optic cable. They don’t like to make definitive statements but we have been told that based on the cables installed in the past that 40 years is a probable lifetime for most cables. There are certainly cables in use today that are over 30 years old already. The glass fiber is not a problem, it’s the protection from the cables that will eventually fail. Installation techniques can have an effect on the longevity. For example splice closures should be sealed properly to prevent ingress of moisture or dirt. Cables should not be installed with bends below the rated bend radius or with excess tension.

FOA has always told users that fiber optic cables do not need maintenance (, a response to some people advocating periodic inspection and cleaning of connections, for example. That’s just more likely to cause damage.

When an accidental break in a cable occurs, we have guidelines for restoration (, and planning for restoration when building the cable plant is very important.

Someday you will certainly want to replace cables, often well before the lifetime of the cable, but generally because you need more fiber or the older fiber will not support the network speeds you want for upgrades. Planning for more fiber by installing more cables can be eased by installing spare underground ducts when first installing cables - here in the US, we call this “Dig Once” ( Testing fibers for higher speeds is called "fiber Characterization” ( and is routinely done when speeds above 10G or certainly 100G are considered for older fibers.

Knowing that the lifetime of fiber optic cable plants are ~40 years, it makes sense to plan ahead for future applications, installing lots of fibers, leaving lots of open duct space and choosing network architectures that will not obstruct upgrades. See the article on Netly's network above.

Fiber Optic Color Codes Reference Chart
Q: Has anyone made a fiber optic pocket reference chart that has cable color orders, frequencies, or other commonly used info on it?
A: The FOA has a page on its Online Guide that covers color codes ( It is the most popular page in the FOA Guide! It works great with a smartphone.

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  



The word on the "Dig Once" program is getting out - FOA is getting calls from cities asking us for information and advice. Here are some links:

The DoT page on the administration’s Executive Order:

And the one to download and hand out:
A “How To” Guide from The Global Connect Initiative:

Is There A Standard For Fiber Optic Installation?

Another question we get often is "Is there a standard for fiber optic installation." The answer is yes, but not from the usual standards groups you might expect. Over 20 years ago, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) asked FOA to help create a standard for installation. That standard, ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 has been updated three times already and is about ready for another update.

Unlike most of those groups who charge you a fortune for standards, FOA covers the cost so
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 is available free from FOA.

                        301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

Download your free copy of
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 here (PDF)

Older questions are now available here.

/ FiberU

News and resources to help you learn more and stay updated.

Find a listing of all the FOA-Approved schools here.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.
Free online training at Fiber U

The FOA has >100 videos on videos 

FOA School News

 FOA's roster of approved schools is growing as more organizations recognize our expertise in workforce development and our comprehensive support for getting new schools started. FOA has over 25 years experience and nearly 90,000 certified fiber techs (with ~120,000 certifications). As a non-profit organization founded by the industry specifically to develop a competent workforce, FOA provides the consultation, curriculum and contacts to get schools started as a free service to new schools.

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations 

Need A Fiber Optic Course Onsite? Invite an FOA School To Come To You

FOA often gets inquiries from an organization that has personnel that needs training in fiber optics. Recent inquiries have included contractors, a manufacturer of high-reliability products using fiber optics and a cable manufacturer. In many cases, where there are several people needing training, FOA can recommend a FOA Approved School and Certified Instructor who will come to their location to teach a class. The advantage  is of course the savings in travel costs if the class comes to you, but it also offers the opportunity to customize the course to fit your needs, even use your equipment or work on your components, so the training is more relevant to those taking the class.

Contact FOA to discuss the idea of a custom, on-site class to see if it will better meet your needs.

Fiber U On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program

The FOA Fiber U OJT program for novices combines online study at Fiber U with OJT with mentoring by experienced co-workers and their supervisor to help new employees develop into FOA-certified technicians in only one year. 

The FOA Fiber U “OJT-To-Cert” program  includes both fiber optics and premises cabling (copper, fiber & wireless), so it covers techs working in both outside plant and premises jobs. 

Like other FOA programs, the OJT-To-Cert program is free. If you and/or your company is interested in the FOA OJT-To-Cert program, contact FOA.

To explain how OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short video: Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U     

FOA Direct Certification Program For Experienced Fiber Optic Techs

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

Experienced fiber optic technicians can become FOA Certified using their experience in fiber optics and study for the FOA certification exams online at Fiber U. Thousands of industry professionals have applied to the FOA directly for certification without the need for classroom training, based on their knowledge and skills developed working the field. Since FOA certifications are based on KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities), current techs can show the skills and abilities required through their field experience. FOA provides free online self-study courses at Fiber U for the knowledge part to prepare you for FOA certification exams which you can also take online.

If you are an experienced field tech interested in certification, and FOA is the internationally recognized certifying body for fiber optics, you can find out more about the FOA Direct Certification Program here.

If you are already a CFOT, FOA also offers many specialist certifications you can obtain based on your experience as a field tech. See what's available at
Fiber U.

Fiber U "Basic Fiber Optics" Online Self-Study Course Now In Spanish

El curso de autoaprendizaje en línea "Fibra óptica básica" de Fiber U ahora en español

El sitio de aprendizaje en línea de FOA, Fiber U, tiene más de dos docenas de cursos de autoaprendizaje gratuitos sobre fibra óptica y cableado de instalaciones. Como era de esperar, el tema más popular es el curso "Fibra óptica básica", que se utiliza para iniciarse en la fibra óptica y como curso de preparación para realizar el examen de certificación FOA CFOT.

Ahora el curso básico de fibra óptica está disponible en español, utilizando el libro de texto FOA en español, la sección de la Guía en línea en español y la capacidad de YouTube para traducir subtítulos de video al español. El curso funciona exactamente como la versión en inglés con 10 lecciones, cada una con cuestionarios y una opción para tomar un examen de Certificado de finalización.

Para presentar el nuevo curso de español Fiber U, el examen Certificate of Completion es gratuito, así que dígaselo a sus contactos.

Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

New Fiber U Course: Fiber Characterization 

FOA has added a new course at Fiber U on Fiber Characterization. Fiber characterization is the process for testing long fiber cable plants for its ability for carrying high speed communications. With so many networks now operating at 100, 200, 400 or even 800 Gb/s, fiber characterization is important, especially on older fiber optic cable plants.The free Fiber U Fiber Characterization course is available in two forms, as a standalone Fiber U fiber Characterization Course with its own Fiber U Certificate of Completion and as a separate Lesson in the Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing course. This course is recommended for those studying for the FOA CFOS/FC Fiber Characterization certification.

Fiber U MiniCourses: Got An Hour Or Less? Learn Something New About Fiber Optics.

FOA has introduced a new type of Fiber U course, the MiniCourse, a free online course you could take in a short time, perhaps as you ate lunch at your desk or took a coffee break. The topics of these courses should explain what they are about, and these are all very important topics to fiber optic techs.

New Fiber U MiniCourse - Fiber Optic Jargon
There is a new MiniCourse at Fiber U - Fiber Optic Jargon. Jargon is the most important thing you need to learn when you learn about a new technology. This short Fiber U MiniCourse is intended to introduce you to fiber optic jargon and make learning about fiber much easier. It's aimed at novices but is a good refresher for even experienced techs.

Fiber Optics In Communications  

How Optical Fiber Works 

Fiber Optic Network Restoration 

Fiber Optic Connector Identification

Fiber U Color Codes 

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Fiber Optic Cable Bend Radius

Fiber Optic Link Loss And Power Budgets

Fiber Optic Connector Inspection And Cleaning

Fiber Optic Media Conversion  

Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access  

Reading An OTDR Trace  

Reference Cables For Testing

Fiber Optic Attenuators

The courses have two components, video lectures and readings, that are complementary. As usual there is a self-test to allow you to check your comprehension. As with other Fiber U courses if you desire, you can take a short test for a Fiber U Certificate of Completion that costs
only $10.

All these free courses and many more are available at Fiber U.

What Fiber Techs Don't Know -

What We Learn From FOA Certification Tests

As FOA moves more testing over to our digital online testing system at ClassMarker, we have access to more data about our testing, including what questions and topics on the tests are answered incorrectly most often. Having this data gives us an opportunity to evaluate the questions and how they are stated, but more importantly it allow us to help our instructors teach the subjects and us to change our curriculum and online courses to emphasize these particular topics. These are some of the topics that we have noticed are answered incorrectly more often in FOA and Fiber U tests.

Most of the questions missed are on testing.

1. OTDRs - particularly what information is in the OTDR trace.

2. The difference between dB and dBm

3. Loss budgets - both the concepts and doing the math

4. Insertion loss testing - single-ended or double ended for testing patchcords or cable plants, how to set 0dB references

5. Units of measure - fiber is measured in microns, wavelengths in nanometers, etc.

At FOA, we're working to add Fiber U MiniCourses on these topics and working with our schools to emphasize these topics in their classes.

If you are going to be taking a FOA certification course or test in the near future, these topics should be on your final exam study list.

What We Learn From Hands On Labs
We learn about students performance in hands-on labs from the feedback of our instructors and our own experiences too. One big problem is the use of hand tools. Growing up today, you learn how to use keyboards, mouses and touch screens, but decades ago, you also learned how to use basic hand tools. This is big enough of a problem that we're considering adding some video lessons on basic hand tools to prepare students for cable prep, termination and splicing that require the use of hand tools.

FOA Guide "Basics Of Fiber Optics" Now Available Online in Portuguese (6/2020)

                            Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book

FOA has now translated the Basics of Fiber Optics textbook in our Online Guide into Portuguese, joining Spanish and French translations. For those speaking Portuguese, we have the technical information and for schools we also have curriculum available.

Here is the FOA Guide in Portuguese, Spanish and French translations.

Time To Learn - Online

Some schools have been closed during the pandemic, so FOA has been working with them to create new online learning experiences that can in some cases lead to certification online. FOA certifications are still based on the KSAs - knowledge from the classroom, skills from the labs and abilities judged by instructors or proven by actual experience.

Much of what we're doing benefits from the capabilities of "Zoom." Others have created videoconferencing apps, but none work so well, especially with limited bandwidth. We've seen remote labs that have an instructor showing students how to use the tools they were sent then watching them duplicate their actions. We have worked out methods to use Zoom to proctor FOA's online certification exams.

Blended Learning
While most FOA schools have suspended in-person training during this period, some are offering a "blended learning" option. That means that students sign up for a FOA certification course, take the classroom sessions on Fiber U with the assistance of a FOA certified instructor. Now online instruction can include reviewing the labs using the
Fiber U Basic Skills Labs, then when it's possible to attend classes at the school, complete the hands-on labs and take the FOA certification exam.

Online Remote Labs
Alternatively, some schools are experimenting with "remote labs," where the students get sent tool kits and components and labs are conducted by videoconferencing. Before the labs, the students may watch demos by their instructor on videoconferencing and/or review the relevant "virtual hands-on" lessons in the Fiber U
Fiber Optics Basic Skills Labs  so they will already know the steps in the exercises.
And Fiber U has the new Fiber U DIY Basic Skills Lab lesson with directions on how to purchase inexpensive tools online and use them to learn basic fiber optic skills. Videoconferencing allows the instructor to remotely monitor their work and provide help as needed. Contact the FOA for more information.

FOA Zoom Exam Proctoring

Online Certification Testing
FOA has all its certification tests available online, both for use by our schools and by our direct "Work to Cert" applicants. All FOA certification tests require a proctor to oversee the applicant taking the exam. In this time of social distancing, getting a proctor can be difficult, so FOA now has procedures for online proctors administering the exam.
Contact the FOA for more information.
OJT - On-The-Job-Training
Many novices get a job and learn on the job. They usually have an experienced tech who helps them gain the knowledge and  learn the skills they need to perform their job. Thinking about this in relation to the 
FOA KSAs, the knowledge, skills and abilities needed by a fiber optic tech,  the tech will learn skills but not the basic knowledge that helps them understand the processes involved. FOA can offer help here with our
FOA's OJT-to-Cert Program, using our Fiber U online self-study programs. While the tech learns on the job, they become a Fiber U trainee, getting the knowledge they need, while working under their "mentor" at work. This is particularly good for contracting companies who need techs but do not have the usual training courses available. Interested in OJT programs? Click on the link below or contact FOA for more information.

FOA's OJT-to-Cert Program

FOA offers free online self-study programs at Fiber U. Many users are preparing for FOA certification programs - taking courses at our schools or using the "Work-to-Cert" program. Some of our schools are requiring Fiber U programs as prerequisites for their classroom courses so they can spend more time on hands-on activities.

FOA School Offers Toolkit With Online Training

Slayton tool

Slayton Solutions (FOA Approved School #156) is offering a simple fiber optic tool kit that includes a 29-piece set of fiber optic tools and a power meter along with training videos and online instruction for only $499. 29 Piece Kit includes all tools and devices a technician needs to install fiber optic connectors and test optical power. You can contact them for more information at or

/ Resources


Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
FOA has so much technical reference material, we created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development

To help those new to fiber optic workforce development, FOA has created a web page we call  "Fiber Optic Workforce Development."  In this page, we share what we have learned about the fiber optic workforce, who they are and how they learn their trade. We discuss what defines a fiber optic tech and how they should be certified.

Read the FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development online.

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband (Paperback and Kindle)

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 who 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 ($12.95) and Kindle ($9.95) versions available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version is in color!

More Translations of FOA Textbooks

Guia de Referência sobre Fibra Óptica da FOAFOA is a very international organization and it works hard to accommodate the language needs of everyone. We have been translating our books and website into the languages most requested, and this month, we add two more textbook translations. We also want to thank Jerry Morla, FOA CFOS/I instructor and Director who has been doing the recent translations into Spanish, his native language.

Here is a listing of all the FOA textbook Translations

Spanish Editions:

Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica: Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA  Amazon
La Referencia de Cableado para Predios de la FOA: Guía para Certificación de la FOA   Amazon
La Asociación de Fibra Óptica Manual de Fibra Hasta el Hogar : Para Planificadores, Gestores, Diseñadores, Instaladores y Operadores De FTTH  Amazon
Guía de Referencia de la FOA sobre Diseño de la red de fibra óptica: Guía de Estudio para la Certificación de la FOA Amazon

And the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics:
French Edition: Le Guide de référence de la FOA pour la fibre optique et et guide d'étude pour la certification FOA: Guide d'étude pour la certification FOA  Amazon
Portuguese Edition: Guia de Referência sobre Fibra Óptica da FOA : Guia de Estudo para a Certificação da FOA  Amazon

The subject matter of these books is also translated in the FOA Guide online.

Planning A Fiber Optic Project?

The FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Projects includes this timeline and comments on project planning and implementation.

More New FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages? Here are directions.

FOA Lecture 73, The History of Fiber Optics - A Timeline fiber optics from the beginning.

FOA YouTube Video Describes On-The-Job Training (OJT) 

FOA Lecture 67 Fiber Optics At Electrical Utilities  

More New Videos Including FTTH Series

Like all our YouTube lectures, they are all short and easy to understand.

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages?

Sign in with Google to get translations for closed captioning. Click on the settings icon (red arrow.) Choose "Subtitles".  English is the default language. Click on the arrow after "English (auto-generated) >". In the new window click on "Auto-translate" and choose the language you want. 

FOA Loss Budget Calculator On A Web Page 5/2020

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We recently discovered how to get a spreadsheet ported to a Web page, so we created this web page that calculates loss budgets. We have an iOS loss budget app, but with this web page, you can calculate loss budgets from any device, smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer that has web browsing capability.

FOA Loss Budget Calculator 

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online

                      Guide We are continually updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information. When you go to the FOA Guide Table of Contents to see the latest updates - look for New.

Recent updates:

FTTH Updates: Added a section on FTTH Network Design, updated Architecture and PONs (10G)
Color Codes For Fiber Optics   Includes print your own pocket guide and versions for your smartphone.

Fiber Optic Projects - the FOA Guide to projects from concept to operation

Coherent Communications Systems in the FOA Guide.

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

FOA Reference Books

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 a section on planning and managing FTTH Projects.
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions.

FTTH Handbook in Spanish

Sitio web y manual de FTTH ahora en español

Sitio web y manual de FTTH ahora en español - FTTH Website And Handbook Now In Spanish

El Manual FOA FTTH se ha convertido en el libro FOA más vendido y tiene una calificación de 4.7/5 por parte de los compradores en Amazon.

FOA ha notado mucho interés en FTTH en otras áreas del mundo, especialmente en América Central y del Sur, por lo que tradujimos el sitio web de FTTH y el Manual de FTTH al español.

Available in paperback from Amazon or ebook on Amazon Kindle.
Disponible como libro de tapa blanda en Amazon o como libro electrónico en Amazon Kindle.  
El sitio web de FOA FTTH ahora en español.  

El Manual FOA FTTH se ha convertido en el libro FOA más vendido y tiene una calificación de 4.7/5 por parte de los compradores en Amazon.

FOA ha notado mucho interés en FTTH en otras áreas del mundo, especialmente en América Central y del Sur, por lo que tradujimos el sitio web de FTTH y el Manual de FTTH al español.

Disponible como libro de tapa blanda en Amazon o como libro electrónico en Amazon Kindle.  

El sitio web de FOA FTTH ahora en español.  

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                        text in Spanish FOA Text in French FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng
                          book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics
                          book   FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Design book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Testing
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
Fiber Optics (4 languages), Premises Cabling, OSP fiber and construction, Network Design, Testing and FTTH

   The FOA has it's own reference books for everyone working in fiber optics - contractors, installers and end users as well as for use as textbooks in classes at educational institutions. They are available as printed books or Kindle at much lower prices than most textbooks since we self-publish and sell online, cutting out the middlemen. Click on the book images for more information. The Reference Guide To Fiber Optics is also available in Spanish, French and Portuguese. The Design book is available in English and Spanish.

Click on any book for more information about it.

FOA has reprinted

Lennie Lightwave
Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special print edition.
Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are online or as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle
                        Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.

Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

Resources For Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools
Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For Teachers.



On Safety

The FOA is concerned about safety!
FOA considers safety an integral part of all our programs, curriculum materials and technical materials. We start all our textbooks and their online versions with a section on safety in the first chapter, like this: Before we get started - Safety First!
There are pages on the FOA Guide on Safety procedures Including Eye Safety  and. Digging Safely 

And a YouTube lecture: FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics
In our OSP Construction Section, these pages cover many safety issues including those related to the construction of the cable plant: Project Preparation And Guidelines, Underground Cable Construction, Underground Cable Installation and Aerial Cable Installation.
There is even a safety poster for the fiber activities: PDF Safety Rules For Fiber Optics
Other Safety Resources:

There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number in the USA: Dial 811. See for more information in the US. Here is their map of resources by states.

In Canada, it's "Click Before You" They also have a page of resources by US states and Canadian provinces.

The Common Ground Alliance has an excellent "Best Practices Guide" online

The US Department of Transportation has a website called "National Pipeline Mapping System" that allows one to search for buried pipelines.   

Why We Warn You To Be Careful About Fiber Shards
fiber in
Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultantcy

2023 Conference On Damage Prevention In Tampa
Safety Conference

Global Excavation Safety Conference

Tampa, Florida
February 14-16, 2023


The magazine, dp-Pro, sponsor of the conference, has also published it's latest issue with an article by FOA on "New Construction Techniques in Fiber Optics" and a overview of the FOA. You can read the magazine here.

When You Bury Marker Tape, Bury One That Will Work (July 2021)


Signaltape® provides a visual warning by ensuring tape is brought to the surface, alerting the operator to the presence of a buried utility. It includes a 3,000-lb. tensile strength aramid fiber membrane, which ensures the tape is pulled to the surface to alert the excavation crew. Signaltape comes in two sizes: 12″ x 1000′ or 6″ x 1000′.

FOA Corporate Program - Products & Services

Search for products and services offered by hundreds of fiber optic companies worldwide.

List of corporate information  on the FOA website.

FOA Corporate Program is available to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc.  Read more.


About The FOA

Contact Us: or email <>

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has a company page and four LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official company page on LinkedIn
FOA - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)  

What is The FOA? 

The FOA is a, international non-profit educational association chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. 

Founded in 1995 by a dozen prominent fiber optics trainers and  leaders from education, 
industry and government as a professional society for fiber optics and a source of independent certification, the FOA has grown to now being involved in numerous activities to educate the world about fiber optics and certify the workers who design, build and operate the world's fiber optic networks.

Read More  

FOA History  

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optics  

Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <> or email <>
Telephone/text: 760-451-3655

The FOA Home Page

FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on "Fiber U®." Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.


Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc.
The FOA Home Page

Fiber Optic Timeline  

(C)1999-2023, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

 FOA Logo Merchandise

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
FOA T Shirt
The FOA has created a store on offering lots of new logo merchandise. It has lots of versions of shirts and other merchandise with "FOA," "Fiber U," "Lennie Lightwave" designs and more so you should find something just for you! See FOA on Zazzle.

Your Name, CFOT® - It pays to advertise!

The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files 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!

Contact FOA at to get logos in file format for your use.

Privacy Policy (for the EU GDPR): The FOA does not use cookies or any other web tricks to gather information on visitors to our website, nor do we allow commercial advertising. Our website hosts may gather traffic statistics for the visitors to our website and our online testing service, ClassMarker, maintains statistics of test results. We do not release or misuse any information on any of our members except we will confirm FOA certifications and Fiber U certificates of completion when requested by appropriate persons such as employers or personnel services.
Read the complete FOA Privacy Policy here.