FOA Guide

FTTx: Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb

The term FTTx is used as a catch-all for fiber to the home, premises, business and even the hybrid fiber to the curb. Mostly we're concerned with fiber to the home, but we will discuss all options.

Broadband connections to the home began in 1997 with the installation of the first cable modems by CATV companies. Telcos were left to try to get high speeds over copper networks, but twisted pair wires were inferior to coax used by CATV. CATV became the dominant provider of broadband. In the years since, the backbones for both telco and CATV were upgraded to fiber, but even after the development of over 20 generations of equipment, DSL (digital subscriber line) over twisted pair phone lines was clearly an inferior product. Beginning around 2006-7, fiber to the home (FTTH) began emerging.

Fiber has now gained acceptance in the final frontier of telephone networks, the "last mile," the connection to the home. Many homes, apartments and businesses are still connected with aging, low performance copper telephone wire that cannot support connection speeds for broadband access. The costs of maintaining these old copper cable plants is also extremely high and increasing. Even when landlines are abandoned for mobile phones, the home needs a connection capable of providing high speed Internet access and fiber is the most logical - and economic choice, providing gigabit+ speeds with plenty of room to upgrade.

Phone companies, cities, utilities and commercial service providers are now realizing the best choice for upgrading the subscriber connection is fiber to the premises or home (FTTP, FTTH) although fiber to the curb (FTTC) or fiber to wireless (FTTW) may be used where appropriate. The possibility of delivering new services (the triple-play of phone, Internet and video) and low priced components for with new network architectures make FTTx financially attractive. Companies are spending billions of dollars connecting millions of homes and offices with fiber. 

CATV companies who have used fiber in their backbones for decades even have their own standard for fiber to replace coax, since the cost of fiber is reasonable and performance unlimited. Municipalities or private individuals are looking at installing their own FTTx systems when phone or CATV companies won't do it soon enough. Housing developers are learning about FTTx because their customers are demanding the highest bandwidth broadband connections.

All these plans depend on finding or training adequate numbers of technicians. The FOA, working with operating companies beginning with Verizon for FiOS in 2006, municipalities, installers and our approved schools has developed requirements for FTTx training and certification, with the goal of providing enough qualified FTTx installation technicians to make these plans possible.
FOA CFOS/H Certified FTTx Technician certification programs are now being introduced in many FOA-approved schools. Students seeking certification must complete the FOA CFOT program first to obtain their first level certification, then attend a short course on FTTx that will prepare them for the CFOS/H exam. Those interested in learning about FTTx but are not seeking certification will find the courses good information on the current technology.

Technical Information on FTTX  from the FOA Online Reference Guide
FTTH Architectures, FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units) 
FTTH PON Protocols 
FTTH Installation 
FTTH Customer Premises Installation 
Testing FTTH Networks      
Links for more information on FTTx

Case Studies: Do-It-Yourself FTTH  

Training & Certification
Fiber U FTTx Online Self-Study Course (free) 
FOA Certification Overview
FOA FTTx Certification Requirements

FOA-Approved Training Programs

Broadband Homes
Building Homes For Broadband
What do homebuilders need to know to build homes that take full advantage of FTTx? FOA presentation to the SoCal Building Industry Association conference. (Online PPT)

FOA Online Guide Table of Contents  




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