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August 2023

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What's Weather Got To Do With Fiber Optics?
Safety While Working In Extreme Heat
Rural Networks Vulnerable To Wildfires
Wildfires And Aerial Cables
Preparation For Disaster Recovery
Good Lessons For Restoration

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

Recognized as a Telecom Tech
How Many Satellites Do You Need?
Comm College Grads Earn More
ISE Expo 2023
Global Excavation Safety Conference 2024
FiberWizards Online Programs

Bad FTTH Residential Cable Installation
What's Inside - 864 Fiber Cable
Reading The Cable Jacket
New Tool FOr Wet-Dry Cleaning
Microtrenching More Vulnerable To Cuts?
NATE Video On Work Zone Protection
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.

Join The FOA eMail Newsletter List
Want to be notified when the FOA Newsletter is updated? Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter. You can also sign up from your cell phone: text "FOA" to 22828 (usual text message charges apply)

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!

Focus On Disasters And The Weather's Role In Installation

We began working on this month's FOA Newsletter planning to discuss the FOA's role in educating the fiber optic workforce, but nature stepped in and filled the news with stories of extreme weather, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. We decided to cut the education section short and focus on the issues of weather and disasters and their role in designing, building and operating fiber optic networks. Next month we'll get back to education.

It's HOT in LA!

Bear takes a dip in Burbank backyard as California’s heat wave continues -  LA Times  

What's Weather Got To Do With Fiber Optics?

It's midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere. It's normally the hottest time of the year and this year is setting records. News stories are warning everyone about the dangers of hot weather since some parts of the world are getting as hot as humans can tolerate. Hot weather almost always means wildfires, and this year wildfires are burning in areas not generally associated with wildfires like California. We have had wildfires burning for months in Canada and this week wildfires were burning even in Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, Turkey and the Greek Isles.

It's almost time for the hurricane season to start in the mid-Atlantic and they are extremely disruptive to communications. Come winter, Northern areas will get cold and blizzards and ice storms are also a hazard for infrastructure.

NTIA slide from TIA BEAD Success Summit  

It's not just aerial cables that are at risk. We've seen flooding in many areas during this very wet winter/spring and sea rise is threatening many coastal cities. That can cause problems with underground infrastructure if flooding has not been part of the design. And winter can bring a special set of problems to underground cables. FOA has been sent photos of splice closures that filled with water and froze, disrupting the network. FOA was even sent a photo of a flooded manhole that froze solid in a very cold winter. The question was how do you thaw up a frozen manhole; the answer was wait for springtime.

The FOA has always had technical information on preparing for and restoring network outages caused by the cable plant (FOA Guide on Restoration and Fiber U MiniCourse on Restoration), but with all the disruptive weather we have been having, several groups have contacted FOA to ask for advice on planning and designing networks to survive disasters. It's not a simple subject and there will be a wide variety of conditions to plan for, but it has become a very important topic.

Here are some things to consider right now.

Safety While Working In Extreme Heat

Temperatures above 100 degrees F (38 deg C) are no longer unusual in the summer. Techs working on fiber optic installations and their supervisors need to understand the risks of working in high heat and humidity and signs of worker health issues. Last year a 24 year old fiber optic installer suffered heatstroke while installing fiber near San Antonio, Texas which was above 100 degrees F (38 deg C). He and a friend had just started working as installers while they were finishing college. According to news reports, his friend/coworker tried to help cool him down but his supervisor, not recognizing his condition, delayed him getting medical care and he died. (Reported in the Guardian)

Construction workers in high heat
Construction workers during a heatwave in San Antonio, Texas, on 27 June.
Photograph: Kaylee Greenlee Beal/Reuters
from the Guardian story.

Heatstroke is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. This most serious form of heat injury, heatstroke, can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. Symptoms of heatstroke may include rapid, shallow breathing, flushed red skin, headache, nausea and vomiting, racing heart rate, confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, delirium, seizures and coma - and death. The installer died in a hospital from severe heatstroke and had a recorded internal temperature of 109.8F (43.2C).

Heatstroke requires immediate emergency treatment. Untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death. While waiting for medical personnel, keep the person into the shade or cool areas indoors and cool the person with sprays or mists of water or cold ice packs.

Companies need to ensure employees understand the risks of working in high temperatures, a safety issue just like any other. There are many good websites like this one from the Mayo Clinic about heatstroke that explain what to look for and how to provide emergency treatment.

Heat Illness Banner

For more information on heat illness prevention, go to

Rural Communications Are Important To Save Lives

But Vulnerable To Natural Disasters Like Wildfires

Rural broadband and wireless have been the focus of our attention for the last few years, especially now that the US Government is now funding projects. For some rural projects, natural disasters can be a big problem that is hard to plan for, especially wildfires. California and the American West are famous for wildfires in the hot dry summer, but this year we've also got wildfires in Canada, Greece, and practically on every continent but Antarctica.

Unless you have been through one of these monstrous wildfires or seen the aftermath, it is hard to conceive of the intensity of the fires, the speed with which they can move and the destruction they leave behind. But a recent article in the LA Times can help you understand what happens in a wildfire. They created a time-lapse video of a wildfire on July 18, 2023 in California - the Rabbit Fire.

The video used to create this time lapse video was taken from AlertCalifornia, a wildfire-focused public safety program launched in May by UC San Diego, that collects data on natural disasters. The program has more than 1,000 wildfire-monitoring cameras across the state to study how fires start and spread and to provide real-time data. Each camera system has multiple camera angles for each monitored area and can view as far as 60 miles during the day and 120 miles on a clear night. Some new cameras are equipped with sensors that can identify hot spots and flareups even in smoky and hazy conditions. Several of the cameras taking these videos are on rural wireless towers so you can see how the fires threaten the communications systems.

Here are stills from the video:

Rabbit Fire 2023

Rabbit Fire 2023

Rabbit Fire 2023

Rabbit Fire 2023

After the fire burned past this cell tower, you can see the surrounding area is burned to the ground - the white areas are the ash left after the super-hot fire consumed the brush and trees. Note the area cleared around the site; it's important to prevent fire damage to the equipment.

Planning for a natural disaster like this is important but not easy. The power company often turns off power because their aerial power cable sometimes the cause of the fires. Even if they don't these fires can consume wood utility poles just like trees, leaving wires - power and  communications - hanging or on the gorund. Backup power and communications links are important to consider.

Residents of local areas often rely on their cell service for warnings about wildfires and the need to evacuate. Loss of service can be deadly. Planning for disaster is important as many areas have learned recently.

Wildfires And Aerial Cables

The photos above show the results of a recent wildfire burning around wireless sites on mountains. But of course the rural areas are mainly served by aerial cables for power and communications. A wildfire can totally destroy an aerial cable plant as these photos, taken after a 2007 wildfire in Southern California show.


A major fire raced through this field near the I15 Freeway, leaving all these power and communications cables laying in the ashes covering in the field. The fire destroyed all the wooden poles, leaving the cables on the ground. Below is an example of what the fire did to one wooden pole.

Wildfire pole

Wildfires are so hot they consume anything flammable in their path. Wood utility poles are particularly vulnerable as old dry wood. Some utilities in California are now converting to metal or concrete poles in some high risk areas to help prevent losses like this. Some utilities are considering moving infrastructure underground, which is expensive but prevents even more expensive damages.

Preparations For Disaster Recovery

Like every fiber optic network installation project is unique, every network disaster recovery is unique. When a disaster strikes, the first concern is the safety of the people and as soon as possible restoring communications to assist in the recovery process. Paramount is having power for communications equipment, then setting up local communications systems. Once a basic network is restored, work can begin on rebuilding damaged infrastructure.

Disaster planning should be based on the local area. California worries more about wildfires and earthquakes. Florida about hurricanes and flooding. Any location in the world can evaluate the likely disaster scenarios and incorporate it into their planning, but don't forget about the unknown/unexpected disaster that could happen.

The FOA technical information on preparing for and restoring network outages focuses on the cable plant (FOA Guide on Restoration and Fiber U MiniCourse on Restoration), but future work will focus on planning and designing networks to survive disasters.

Watch for future FOA work in this area.

Good Lessons About Restoration For Managers Of Infrastructure Projects

Philly road

When a section of a major highway in Philadelphia was damaged by a fire caused by a tank truck accident, estimates of the repair time were several months or more. In actuality, the road was repaired in 12 days, a fraction of the estimates. How did this happen?

The story was told in a recent article in the Washingotn Post written by Josh Shapiro, the Governor of Pennsylvania. The article tells the whole story well but summarizes how this project was done so quickly in just 4 points:

  1. Empower strong leadership
  2. Speed up the bureaucracy
  3. Encourage creativity
  4. Work together

The lessons learned here apply to any public works project including the typical broadband project. You need knowledgeable leaders who know what they are doing and how to get things done. You need the bureaucracies that are involved in permitting, for example, to understand the project and it's priority. Thinking creatively in a fiber project may involved installation techniques, component selection or even choosing to use a different network model, like building a "terabit city" for the future. Number 4 is obvious - a project involves many workers with different tasks, but they need to understand each of their roles and cooperate to get their part done in time for others to do theirs.

All this is always very important, but even more so with all the US infrastructure funding available that will involve public-private partnerships.

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband (Paperback and Kindle)

The article above points out the need for officials involved in a project to know enough technical details about the project to be able to make good decisions. That was why FOA created its latest book, Fiber Broadband. It is intended to be an introduction to broadband technology for managers involved with broadband projects, communications courses at high school or technical college level or for anyone who just wonders how all this stuff works.

FOA Guide To Fiber Broadband
How does broadband work? Without fiber optics it would not work; even wireless has a fiber backbone.
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.

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!

If you work with a broadband project, contact FOA for a review copy.

Feature Articles From The July FOA Newsletter  

BEAD Funding For The States Announced And Analyzed
How Many Techs Do We Really Need To Connect All These New Users?
What Happens When You Have Lobbyists
AI (Artificial Intelligence) For Fiber Optics?
What does A Rural FTTH Connection Cost?
What Does The Middle Mile Cost?

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 

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

Old Leaded Telecom Cables May Be Environmental Hazard

lead cables  Lead cable

A Wall Street Journal investigative report says that the old copper cables that telcos still have left in many locations may be a toxic hazard. Many of these cables installed in the early 20th century were covered in lead insulation. AT&T’s stated a 2010 presentation about employee safety said, “Underground cable presents real possibilities for overexposure” for workers removing them. “Some older metropolitan areas may still have over 50% lead cable,” it added.

The paper said that lead from at least 2,000 old telco cables has degraded over time and contaminated myriad locations in water, in the soil and from overhead lines. Many of these locations are in places where people live and work. Some of the locations are in schoolyards. According to its independent tests, some lead levels in sediment and soil measured 14.5 times the EPA threshold for areas where children play. “Doctors say that no amount of contact with lead is safe, whether ingested or inhaled, particularly for children’s physical and mental development,” stated the Journal.

The U.S. has made a huge effort to eliminate lead from paint, gasoline and pipes. But the lead-covered telco cables seem to have flown under the radar, until now. Estimates of the amount of these cables is in the hundreds of thousands of miles of cable.

New Street Research policy analyst Blair Levin wrote that the Journal’s story will likely result in calls to investigate from Congress and various federal agencies such as the EPA, OSHA and the FCC.

But there are facts that aren’t clear. For example, who has the power to force remediation; and who owns the cables? Because the lead-covered cables in question are quite old, and because of the breakup of the old Bell Telephone company, it can be difficult to determine which current company actually owns the cables in any given location. In some of the locations studied by the WSJ, telecom companies have already disavowed ownership of the cables.

Read the full analysis of the WSJ report in Fierce Telecom. Here is the WSJ article which requires a subscription.

You Will Now Be Recognized As A Telecom Tech

The New BLS "Telecommunications Technician" Website Will Be Available September 6

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. Over this long time period, FOA has had many conversations with BLS personnel and helped to refine the job descriptions. 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. In these calls, the conclusion was for a new category for communications workers. 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.

FOA is proud to have been able to get these changes made. It will make a real difference in having good statistics on the industry and job definitions that can be used for government funded projects.

AAPB, the American Association of Public Broadband Founded

AAPB is created to represent public broadband in the United States. 

For decades, municipal networks have achieved success across the country. Now, with AAPB, they will have a clear unified voice. AAPB will work collaboratively with communities, policy makers, service providers, and other industry groups to advance high-speed broadband deployments in the United States.

AAPB embraces all members of the governmental sector, industry/thought leaders, vendors, and advocacy groups. We understand that we cannot connect America without the help and assistance of the entire community. We welcome and thank you for being part of the solution.

Founded by state and local officials, AAPB is a 501 (c)(6) non-profit organization that will build a diverse membership of public broadband networks from around the country, and advocate in support of municipal broadband and local choice at the federal, state, and local levels.

Gigi Sohn who has worked at FCC will be serving as the Executive Director of the American Association for Public Broadband (AAPB).  She will also continue her work as a Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.  

More about AAPB  

How Many Low Earth Orbit Satellites Does It Take To Make A Network

We have written several times about satellite Internet and the Space-X low earth orbit (LEO) satellites being launched to build a network. Space-X is launching satellites weekly and currently has over 4,500 Starlink satellites in orbit. This CelesTrak graphic shown in a recent NY Times article shows how many satellites Starlink already has in orbit.


This is only 4,500 satellites; Space-X has talked about a final number of 42,000! At 4,500 satellites, Space-X Starlink satellites are already the majority of satellites orbiting Earth.

Beyond the communications issues, the large number of LEO satellites are affecting ground-based astronomy. Below is a long exposure photo by NSF of a double star (Albireo) showing the effects of LEO satellites on observations.


Read more about Starlink in the NYTimes.

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.

TIA BEAD Success Summit Presentations Available

TIA BEAD Conference

Slides and videos from the TIA BEAD Success Summit are now available online. There are some interesting presentations and information here.

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


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

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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.

Examples of Poor Installation of FTTH In Customer Premises

Until 10-15 years ago when fiber to the home (FTTH) became possible, HFC (hybrid fiber coax CATV) with a cable modem was the best solution for broadband services. Internet service over the telephone network was very bad, and CATV companies did not have real competition. Because of that, all buildings had HFC installation.

Nowadays, the FTTH is the best access network which enables high quality broadband services. Today, every new building has FTTH installation. Telephone cables and coaxial cables are not installed. The installation process of FTTH installation is completed during the building construction process. In this way, ducts, pipes, cables, etc. are not visible. All of this equipment are in the wall.

One of the main problems with old buildings is high quality broadband services. In situations when tenants do not allow installation of a new FTTH network, telecommunication companies must use FTTx scenarios with old copper cables (telephone, coaxial, or UTP cables) with MoCA,, or technologies.

Usually, tenants do allow the installation of a new FTTH network. Then, telecommunication companies have to pay attention to neatness and quality. A bad installation can have a very bad company reputation, and very often, serious negative effects which can stop the next installation in another building.

In this article, We will show many bad examples of indoor construction in FTTH networks. Many telecommunication operators want to cut costs and use low-quality, incomplete, or inadequate equipment, as well as untrained low-paid staff. In these examples, the main problem is untrained or inexperienced staff.


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).Inside:

What's Inside: Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 Fiber Cable

The Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable we used last month to illustrate the important information printed on the jacket of a fiber optic cable is a typical high fiber count cable built around conventional ribbons of fibers, not flexible ribbons. We opened up this cable so you could see the cable construction.

Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable  Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable

Looking at the cable end, you can see how dense the cable is. Packed into this small cable are 6 color-coded bundles of 144 fibers, 12 ribbons of 12 fibers each, and a central foam member to separate the bundles of ribbons. This is a central tube cable with dual fiberglass strength members on opposite sides inside the jacket. The third photo shows the 12 ribbons in one of the tubes.

Opening this cable to get these photos showed us that this is a cable that requires reading the directions carefully to access the fibers without damaging them. Here is the Corning application note on this cable

Below is the information printed on the cable jacket.

Reading The Important Information On The Cable Jacket

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.

New Tool For Wet/Dry Cleaning

QuickClean by Optix

Optix QuickCleans clean fiber  faster and also avoids skin exposure to repeated use of cleaning solutions
The QuickClean tweezer design includes lint free pads for superior cleaning and a loop tie down on end to prevent from getting lost. They can be used wet or dry and are made of non-woven, high density, hydro-entangled, 45/55 cellulose/polyester blend for optimum purity. High strength with excellent absorbency, these QuickCleans are tested to over 100 uses each before they can be discarded. Ten QuickCleans per pack plus one fluid bottle (1 ounce).

More information and a datasheet.

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

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.

FOA                        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):

August 2023

Recycling Optical Cable Scrap In India - a leader in plastics recycling. Grit Industries recycles plastics and optical fiber cable for India. Watch their video introduction here.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $1 Billion in New Internet for All Funding Available to Tribal Lands  

More communities building own broadband networks - ILSR 

Demystifying Next Generation Fiber Workforce Development - ISE Magazine - it's becoming clear that the gap is not due to a lack of available training programs, but rather a lack of general interest among new generations in pursuing telecom trade jobs.

19-core optical fiber is the world’s fastest - Laser Focus World - An advancement in optical fiber produces the equivalent of 10 million high-speed home internet connections at full capacity.

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?

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

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"

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.

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.

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

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

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)

"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 Overhead 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.

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 generally 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  

August 2023

Test Cables With Network Transceivers And A Power Meter.
Can I test my singlemode cables with just a power meter and the network transceivers?
Yes, using the transmitter in the transceiver as a test source. Since you don't have connector-to-connector mating adapters, use a cable substitution test.
Basic process: test cables by:
Set meter to 1310 nm and dBm
Connect patchcord to transceiver output, measure power. Repeat will all transceivers, all patchcords, reversing each and looking at average power. Should be nearly the same.
Connect 600’ cable to transceiver output, measure power.Power should be ~ 0.1-0.3 dB lower (more negative) than shorter patchcord.
Reverse 600’ cable and Test same when connector on opposite end is plugged into same transceiver.
If there is a problem wih 600’ cable it will show up as higher loss - e.g. lower optical power (more negative) during one of these tests.
If cables are OK, might be transceiver problem.

Testing PONs
For testing a PON (10km), what length launch and receive cables would you recommend? The OTDR being used is the EXFO max tester with IOLM software. A vendor told me that I only need a 15m launch cable which seems ridiculously short. I think I need a few different lengths to figure out which one works best. I was thinking 50m, 150m and 500m would do. Any advice? I was thinking 2km receive cable by the way
Testing a PON is confusing, as I suppose you already know (see On the basis of the link lengths being short, one often assumes the OTDR power will be lower so a short launch/receive cable will be adequate. What is often missed is the loss across splitters makes the dB loss high. You might have a total fiber length of 10 km which implies ~ 3-4dB fiber loss but the total loss is ~20dB! I say go for 1-2km and I always recommend having launch and receive cables the same length since if you want to test in both directions, the launch cable will be the same either way - you only move the OTDR not the test labels to maintain the joints at both ends of the cable under test.

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 with a 2Xn Splitter Instead of 1Xn
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.

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 

Why should a tech want to take certifications beyond the CFOT?

The CFOT was created to be the certification for all fiber optic techs no matter what their job entails. The KSAs ( are intended to cover the basic knowledge for a tech and prepares them to learn more on-the-job.

A few years later, we created CPCT, a certification for those involved in premises cabling for LANs, security systems, etc. that included copper wire, fiber and wireless as used in buildings.

FOA then created specialist skills certifications in Outside Plant installation, Splicing, Testing and Connectors for those who want to learn faster and more thoroughly than they would on the job and show their expertise with a certification.

FOA also created a certification for Fiber Optic Network Designers, something that is hard to learn on the job becasue of it’s complexity and often the lack of a mentor to learn from.

Then there are applications specialties - fiber to the home, fiber for wireless, fiber optic LANs, data centers, etc. where you can learn the applications before trying to learn it on the job.

All the FOA certifications are created by subject matter experts and kept up to date, Those subject matter experts help create the online reference materials, textbooks and curriculum for teachers. FOr example, the textbook and curriculum on fiber optic testing involved more than 40 subject matter experts from more than a dozen countries around the world.

So with a CFOT, you have the basics and will learn on the job. Or you can take a specialist certification and learn it beforehand and quickly. And have a certification to show for it.

More information on FOA Certifications.  

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  

Fiber Optic Jargon

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.