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Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb Technician Requirements


Training The FTTx Technicians Needed By The Industry

Technology or finances are no longer the primary detriments to FTTx deployment. Finding sufficient personnel trained and certified to install FTTx networks has become a gating item as hundreds of FTTx projects come online. Unlike large projects such as long distance or metro networks that keep a small crew busy for weeks, FTTx involves relatively short projects that can keep numerous crews busy working in a small geographic area such as a neighborhood or subdivision.

The Fiber Optic Association,Inc. (FOA), the nonprofit professional society of fiber optics, first became aware of this problem in late 2005. First some of our schools approached us for recommendations on teaching FTTx. FTTx installers came to the FOA asking for help in finding techs capable of doing FTTx installs. Next we received calls from service providers like Verizon also looking for appropriately trained techs.

With hundreds of FOA-approved schools around the world certifying thousands of Certified Fiber Optic Technicians each year, we were an obvious source of capable technicians. As we talked to these companies, we realized that we could greatly improve their efficiency by creating standards for teaching techs in the FTTX specialty and a FTTx certification. The FOA created curriculum for our schools as the basis of their training for the FOA FTTx certification program.

Making Training and Certification Meet Industry Needs

The diversity of installations of FTTH/FTTP/FTTC makes developing training materials more complex. FTTx involves some different skills from traditional OSP installations, depending on the installation methods chosen. Traditional telco OSP installs has one crew pulling cable, one splicing and maybe even another testing, then a final crew turning up the equipment. A FTTX crew is sometimes expected to do all this themselves as well as setting up services for phone, Internet and video inside the home.

Rather than try to cover all the fiber optics associated with FTTx installations (cables, terminations, installation, testing, etc.) as a single program, we made the FTTx certification cover only topics specific to FTTx, including marketing issues (why FTTx now), technology, network architecture and installation. Techs would have the FOA first level fiber optic certification, CFOT, as a prerequisite. The program could then be used to train not only techs, but also non-technical personnel, such as customer service representatives who need to understand FTTx in more depth to deal with today's tech-savvy homebuilders and consumers!

Remember the FOA does not have a fixed curriculum that we provide to our approved schools. We have our reference textbooks and website and we set standards for the training. But our approved schools develop their own programs, which allows them flexibility to teach courses appropriate for different applications, whether it is OSP, premises, security, military, industrial, utitlity or whatever is needed. In the case of FTTX, we decided the priority associated with getting programs available quickly made it reasonable for us to create the basis of a program which the schools could modify as needed to fit the FTTx philosophy of their customers. Feedback from our schools indicate they are incorporating materials from their customers for training that customize the training for the particular applications of FTTx in use by company or regionally.
One thing we know for certain is that the FOA FTTx certification program will have to evolve as the industry develops various FTTX solutions.

Recommended FTTx Training

This course outline covers recommended training for personnel on Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb (called FTTx). The course can be used to either train installation technicians already familiar with fiber optic installation (and FOA CFOT certified) or can be structured to train other personnel in various support roles, including customer service.


For technician certification: CFOT certification (understanding of basic fiber optics, components, installation practice, testing)
For others not expecting to do actual installation work but need knowledge of FTTx to contract for, design, manage or support FTTx networks, there is no prerequisite for the training, although a basic knowledge of fiber optics is expected to be able to understand the technology.


Students should learn:
Why FTTx is being implemented today, including technical, marketing and financial justifications.
The types of FTTx architectures being used, advantages and disadvantages of each and types of components required.
Technical details of specialized FTTx components like splitters and wavelength-division multiplexers and requirements for cables, connectors, splices and hardware.
Design and installation requirements particular to FTTx.
Testing and troubleshooting FTTx links.
Specialized safety requirements of FTTx.

Course Outline

What is FTTx (FTTH/P, FTTC)
Why is FTTx just now becoming utilized?
Types of FTTx architectures and networks, advantages and disadvantages
FTTx components, options in types used
Designing FTTx networks
Testing and troubleshooting

Hands-On Skills

Hands-on activities for FTTx labs must be structured for the requirements of the organization being trained. Options in system architecture and installation methods can lead to choices including these:
Traditional OSP installation: Cable installation, preparation and splicing
Preterminated cable plant installation: Installing cables and hardware using factory made cables and hardware.
New installation processes: preterminated/splice connectors, installation and assembly of PON splitters.
Testing: OLTS and OTDR testing of PON (passive optical network) links, use of optical power meters to measure power outputs at system turn-on to verify installation performance.

FOA Text And Reference Materials

FTTx on the FOA Online Guide, FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics textbook Appendix B, supplemented with outside materials from vendors of FTTx products.
Fiber U FTTx Online Self-Study Course (free) 

FOA-Approved Training Programs

For More Information, Contact The FOA:
Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time
Telephone: 760-451-3655
Fax: 781-207-2421

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