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February 2022

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

Note we have changed the format to place articles in sections on one topic and all articles are dated so you know if we repeat one - which we often do when we think it's very important!


Growing The Fiber Workforce
Helping Make Rural Broadband Possible
Getting Students Started in High School
BELCO Gets Techs Trained
Beware Of Fake FOA School

More Free Fiber U Programs
FOA Creates Timeline Of Fiber Optic History

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

Multiple Bullets Hit Fiber Optic Cable 
Tonga Loses Communications In VolcCano Blast
FTTO At Toulouse
Fiber Guy Is Damage Prevention Hero
Broadband In Illinois

Product News

Directional Boring Can Cause Hidden Damage
Warning For Techs About Fiber Amplifiers
Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Questions from our readers

Training/FiberU   New FOA-Approved Schools, Fiber U MiniCourses, making training classroom safe, onine training, materials, more
Resources New FOA YouTube Videos.  Safety  


FOA Certifications: 

CFOT Total

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

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

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

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Trademarks: The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online self-study program) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
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.

 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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Top Stories From The 2021 FOA Newsletters

The Archives: Past Issues.
Use these links to read past issues or use FOA's  Custom Search to look for specific topics on our website.
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1/08 , 2/08, 3/08, 4/08, 5/08,  6/08, 7/08, 8/08, 09/0810/08, 11/08,  12/08 
12/07 , 11/07, 10/07, 09/07, 08/07, 07/07, 06/07, 05/07, 04/07, 03/07, 2/07, 1/07
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12/03 , 11/03 10/03 9/03, 8/03, 7/03, 6/03, 3/03, 10/02 , 8/02, 5/02

Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

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.

You can now renew with PayPal or a credit card
PayPal is available worldwide

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)

FOA Newsletter - Features

Growing The Fiber Workforce

fiber optic workforce

The workforce has been a major topic of conversation recently, partly caused by the pandemic but also caused by the explosive growth in technology being used by everyone in almost every job as well as everyday life. Besides the growth in the use of the Internet for work (and work at home), education (and education at home) and entertainment, we have associated issues like automation, AI, etc.

The use of the Internet grew about 40% in 2020 and nearly 20% in 2021. More data means more data centers and more Internet backbones. More work/education from home means more homes need better Internet. Some homes just need Internet, because they currently have none. Some are in urban neighborhoods where we have the equivalent of "Internet redlining;" others are in rural areas, both areas major carriers avoid because the economics don't fit their business models.

But the current US governments and others around the world understand the need for universal Internet. The US is making available $billions for supporting Internet in those areas. Talk about new projects is growing. By 2023 or 2024, the number of projects in the US is going to be huge.

We know we need to recruit many more workers and we have to assume the need will continue in the future. It may be even worse as many experienced workers are retiring and taking with them their experience and skills. 
The question is where will the workers needed to build these networks be found?

FOA has some suggestions:

We need to recruit more young people out of schools. We need to convince students and schools (especially guidance counselors) that there are lots of good jobs in the trades. That students can "earn while they learn." That certification in a trade can be as valuable as a college degree (more so than degrees in some subject areas!) And you begin a career without the burden of debt from college loans.

We need to recruit more women. They only represent about 3% of the fiber workforce but, like the women we interviewed in Alaska last year (FOA Newsletter May 2021), their work is high level and they want to learn more to advance in their jobs.

Contractors and other employers of fiber optic techs need to get more involved in OJT and require certification to ensure workers are competent. FOA has programs for "Work To Cert" AND "OJT To Cert" that use online training and supervisor mentoring that can have a big impact on the quality of the workers and the quality of the work they do. It's also a good way to ensure worker satisfaction and keep them.

We need to get more experienced workers to help newcomers by mentoring them, helping them develop the skills they need in the job. FOA can help here too.

Do you, our readers, have more suggestions? Send them to us ( so we can continue this dialogue.

Helping Make Rural Broadband Possible

New FOA Technical/Educational Materials For Those Planning Rural Broadband

Rural Broadband

New video and reference page on rural broadband

Rural broadband is not simple. The need for rural broadband is widely acknowledged, but the eonomics of providing broadband over fiber optics in rural areas means that large service providers are generally not interested. By researching a similar problem from the early 20th century, rural electrification, we learned that the same problems existed then, and, not surprisingly, the same solutions developed then are applicable today in the 21st century. (See the FOA Newsletter August 2021 for the story about rural electrification.)

As FOA continues to be invioved with discussions about rural broadband, we decided to compile the information we had gathered into a short video lecture and a web page of links to relevant information on our website.

Video Lecture
The new YouTube video, FOA Lecture 70 Rural Broadband, Obstacles And Opportunities, is about 25 minutes of discussion about the economics, technology and some other topics about how to successfully build a rural broadband network. In this video, we discuss the problems of rural broadband, show how they are similar to rural electrification, and how the solutions developed then are just as valid now.

FOA Lecture 70 Rural Broadband

Reference Page
The new reference page on rural broadband is intended to be a reference guide for those looking for more information on rural broadband and FTTH. It includes some basic information about rural broadband and gathers up links to the many articles FOA has done on the topic, the FOA Guide pages on broadband and FTTH.

FOA Reference Page On Rural Broadband

Both the video lecture and the reference page are also intended for those trying to get a project started to have a link for others interested in the project to learn more about what is involved.

Biden Administration Releases Guidebook on Infrastructure Law Implementation

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

Here is a link to the Broadband section of the

Here is a link to the entire Guidebook.

Getting Students Started In High School

FOA has mentioned many times the need to get high school students interested in the trades, where they can create a career with excellent potential without incurring a load of college debt. Here is an example of a High School that thinks the same way:

FOA has been working with Dale Larocque, Vocational Electronics Instructor at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School in Peabody, Massachusetts, a new FOA-Approved School, who has been working with local network partner RCN to create a program for his students. Who could be better than Dale to explain his program and show you his facility? Here is Dale in a video he's created to show you what a progressive high school can do.


Peabody Veterans Memorial High School is a new FOA school (#386).

Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) Techs Get Fiber Training

FOA Instructor Brian Brandstetter of MTC in Canada trained ten techs from the Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) early this year.

Photo from The Royal Gazette 

As reported in the local news The Royal Gazette:
The internationally recognised CFOT programme is the Fibre Optic Association’s certification for general fibre optics and is chartered to promote professionalism in fibre optics through education, certification and standards.

The employees who attained the Fibre Optic Association’s certification are Jarrod Zancanella, Zeldon Trott, George Fubler, Torrey Tacklyn, Ryan Hayward, Christopher Pullen, Andrew Mitchell, Khimo Harrison, Kumar Grant and Carvala Duffus.

Wayne Caines, president of Belco, said: “We are committed to empowering our employees with opportunities for lifelong learning and becoming a certified fibre optic technician is just one of these opportunities.

“I would like to offer my congratulations to the ten staff members who are now certified by the Fibre Optic Association. I know that they will put these skills to good use as our company continues to evolve and embrace the latest technologies to become a world-class renewable energy company.”

Beware Of Fake FOA-Approved School : LEARNING ALLIANCE


FOA recently received a call from a person looking for fiber training asking about the school Learning Alliance located in Tampa, Florida. Learning Alliance is not an FOA-approved school. They have tried to work around FOA requirements in the past by subcontracting to FOA-approved organizations. On their website, they make claims that are not true:

Frpm this page.
"Obtain industry certifications like Certified Fiber Optic Technician and XXXXXX through structured training programs" (Certified Fiber Optic Technician, CFOT, is a FOA trademark and this organization is not authorized to offer CFOT training and certification)

From this page:
"Learning Alliance partners with certifying bodies to help our pre-apprentices, students and alumni gain access to critical certifications in the skilled trades industries they work in. These partnerships are important because skilled trade industry is defined by continuing education through various certifying bodies."

(The use of the FOA logo is without the consent of the FOA.)

Fiber U Adds More Free Online Self-Study Programs

Fiber U MiniCourse:  Fiber Optic Attenuators For Managing Data Link Power 
Most of our attention in a data link focuses on the cable plant, particularly minimizing the loss of the installed cable plant. However many fiber optic links have too much power at the receiver, a consequence of having links designed for long distances being used at shorter distances. This course will discuss the need for attenuators, how to determine the value of attenuator needed and how to install and test them in the link. To create this course, we added a new video FOA Lecture 72 Fiber Optic Attenuators   and updated the page in the FOA Guide Using Attenuators With
Fiber Optic Data Links.  

Fiber U MiniCourse: Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing
Choosing, using and caring for reference cables can be confusing. It's different for insertion loss and OTDR testing. It's different with different types of fiber and connectors. When testing a fiber optic cable plant, the test setup looks very similar to the way a fiber optic data link uses the cable plant, with the communications equipment replaced with fiber optic test equipment and the  patchcords connecting the communications equipment replaced by reference test cables. This course covers the uses, specifications and handling of reference cables for fiber optic testing. This course includes a new video FOA Lecture 71 Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing. and an updated page in the FOA Guide on Reference Cables.

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. It is recommended for those studying for the FOA CFOS/FC Fiber Characterization certification.

Fiber U Now Offers Two DIY Fiber Optic Link Demos
Build Your Own Duplex Link Or FTTH PON Demos With Directions on Fiber U and YouTube.
DIY Duplex Fiber Link: Go To Fiber U DIY Link Demo Course or the FOA YouTube DIY Duplex Link video
DIY PON: Go to
Fiber U DIY PON Demo course and a FOA YouTube PON Demo video that describes it.

El curso de autoaprendizaje en línea "Fibra óptica básica" de Fiber U ahora en español
Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

Offer Extended: Take the updated Fiber U FTTH course and the Certificate of Completion Test FREE

FTTH Updates In The FOA Guide And YouTube

FTTH has always been the most popular application for FOA's knowledge base. We've been working overtime to update FOA materials covering FTTH adding and updating information important for network owners and managers, designers, installers and operators to be familiar with, as they can help build FTTH networks that are better, cheaper and easier to design, build and operate.

Read more about the FOA's FTTH information updates

FTTH                    Handbook
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print ($19.95) and Kindle ($9.95) editions.

FOA Creates Timeline of Fiber Optic History

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

One very interesting way to look at the past is by following a timeline. The FOA has been working on a timeline of fiber optics for over a year now, using our worldwide network of contacts who themselves go back to the time of the first field trails of fiber optics in the US and UK. We've added important fiber-related events too, like the development of telecom technologies, computer netwoks, the Internet, smartphones and 5G, all of which have been impacted by fiber optics and vice versa.

Here is the FOA Timeline of Fiber Optic History. If you have events you think should be added, contact FOA as a timeline is best kept as a living document.

FOA Newsletter Sections

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


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

Multiple bullets hit Xfinity fiber cable, causing outage in Oakland

Crews restore service late Sunday to more than 20,000 customers (San Jose Mercury News)

bullet holes
The outage happened before 5 a.m. Sunday after a shooting near the city’s Eastmont Mall, and affected about 20,000 customers across Oakland, according to an Xfinity spokesperson. The outage affected all of Xfinity’s services, including Internet, TV, phone and home security systems.

No confirmation was immediately available on an NBC Bay Area social-media post quoting an Oakland police source who said at least a dozen shots were fired into the air. But police said Monday that the city’s ShotSpotter service had logged 17 shots fired in the 6800 block of MacArthur Boulevard around 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

“The damage was extensive and repairing fiber optic cable is a dangerous, time intensive and complex process,” she said. “I know folks are impatient and we are too, but we are working around the clock to fix it and get everyone back online.”

All services were reportedly restored between 7 and 8 p.m., Hammel said in an e-mail, adding that Oakland police were investigating the incident. No information was shared on whether crews encountered issues while restoring service, or how common shooting-related damage to fiber or other equipment.

Read the story in the San Jose Mercury News. 

The commonly quoted saying is "The most common causes for fiber outages are "backhoe fade" for underground cables and "target practice" for aerial cables."

Tonga’s volcano blast cut it off from the world. | MIT Technology Review

Hunga Ha‘apai, an underwater volcano off the coast of Tonga, erupted on January 15. The blast has had global consequences: more than 6,000 miles away, waves caused by the eruption drowned two people in Peru.

Tonga has been cut off from the internet, making it that much harder to coordinate aid or rescue missions. In a highly interconnected world, Tonga is now completely dark, and it’s almost impossible to get word out. Getting the country back online is vital—but it could take weeks.

It's likely that the undersea cable connecting its internet to the rest of the world has been destroyed by the blast. The Tonga Cable System runs 514 miles between Tonga and Fiji, bringing internet service to the two island nations. Previously, that connection has been backed up by a satellite internet connection. The tidal wave resulting from the volcano explosion could have taken out the satellite dishes.

Read the story: MIT Technology Review   (The satellite images of the eruption are amazing!)

More on Tonga from the Washington Post  

New building fully equiped with FTTO at

University of Toulouse - Centre for Integrative Biology (CBI)

The Centre for Integrative Biology (CBI) brings research teams, technological platforms and services together in a highly modern architectural complex which has been, fully equipped with an FTTO (Fibre To The Office) network. This makes it possible to cater to a wide range of internal user requirements and anticipate future evolutions.

Read more from NEXANS.

Fiber Guy Is Damage Prevention Hero

dp-PRO magazine recognized George Kemp, MetroNet as a "Damage Prevention Hero."


Along with his “day job” as VP Safety, Government Affairs & Quality Assurance with MetroNet, George is currently serving as Chairman of the Board for Indiana 811, during which time he led them through both a software and leadership change. He also serves as Alternate Trustee for OHIO 811, Secretary for NTDPC, and is a member of both the CGA Education and Best Practices Committees. He also finds time to frequently participate in local damage prevention councils!

Read more in dp-PRO Magazine.

Hear About Broadband in Illinois

Listen to this interview with Matt Schmit, Director of the Illinois Office of Broadband and Chair of Illinois Broadband Advisory Council. During the conversation, the two discuss Illinois’ $420 million investment in broadband infrastructure as part of the Connect Illinois Broadband Grant program, the challenges in and solutions to both rural and urban settings, and how the Illinois Connected Communities program has helped at all stages of the process.

ILSR PODCAST 489 (scroll down to #489) 

FOA Had A BUSY 2021

Below is a summary of some of the FOA accomplishments from 2021:

Top Stories From 2021 FOA Newsletters
Last Gasp For Multimode Fiber?  
Who Lost Lucent? The Decline of America's Telecom Industry. 
Things To Learn From A Town That Voted Down Fiber
Can Tapping Fiber Reduce Cost? 
How Many Fibers? Optimal cable Size. 
Women Installers In Alaska. 
FOA OJT To Cert Program
FTTH Month - June FOA Newsletter.
Building Rural FTTH - Learning From The History Of Rural Electrification
New FOA Guidelines For Training And Certification
Warning For Techs Doing Restoration (Fiber Amplification).

New Pages In The FOA Guide
Fiber Optic Sources For Transmitters
Midspan Access
Loss Budget Calculator - Online
FTTH Network Design. (plus updated pages in the FTTH section)

New Fiber U Courses
Fiber Characterization.
Basic Fiber Optics in Spanish
FTTH Update (Get the Certificate of Completion Free!)
Loss Budgets
How Fiber Works
Fiber Optic Color Codes
Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing
Basic Skills Labs - Link Demos

New FOA Publications
FOA FTTH Handbook.

New YouTube Lectures
FOA Lecture 61 Fiber Optic Color Codes    
FTTH Series
Lecture 63 FTTH Network Architectures  


On fiber optic technology, standards, equipment, installation, etc.

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


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.

Interesting Products


A simple gadget for your splicing table that holds fibers in place while you are splicing. Looks very useful, especially with some of the larger, stiffer cables or OPGW .FiberNext FAS-CLAMP.


CleerLine SSF Fiber

Several decades ago, 3M patened a fiber with a slightly smaller glass cladding diameter and a thin polymer coating that made it easier to crimp connectors directly on the fiber without damaging it. Cleerline now markets a version of this fiber that takes advantage of another characteristic of this hard thin plastic coating on the class - it reduces the sensitivity of the fiber to bending losses. Cleerline SSF Fiber  

(Note - FOA retouched Cleerline's drawing above because they showed the core sticking out of the glass cladding, indicating it was separate, but of course, the core and cladding are one solid piece of glass.  See this FOA article on fiber stripping for clarification.

Directional Boring Can Cause Damage Without Being Noticed - Until Later

Directional boring

Recently we were told about "Cross Bores" by a Scott Landes, professional in the damage prevention industry and publisher of DP-Pro magazine. Cross Bores are when one utility is inadvertently installed through a pipeline. This typically happens to sewer laterals because many of them are not locatable and not marked, so the contractor has no easy way to know they are in their path.

When a gas service line goes through the sewer lateral nobody knows it happened. Fast forward to when the homeowner’s sewer is backed up and they call a plumber. If the plumber doesn’t run a camera down the line they are likely to think it is a tree root. They simply auger out what they think is a tree root, which causes a gas leak. The gas frequently finds its way up the sewer lateral leading to a house exploding.

Here is a great video on it. 
and a website devoted to it

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration


FOA recently received an inquiry that was a new one; 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" below.

Here Is An Excellent Reference On This Topic - Thanks To A Reader

I found your article “Warning For Techs About Fiber Amplifiers” surprising.

I wrote WAC 296-32-22576 (I am an author on the entire rule) about 5 years ago to address the hazard, and related hazards, that is noted in the  FOA article  “Warning For Fiber Techs Doing OSP Restoration”.  Not only have we been enforcing and educating, but we have presented the light hazard at multiple events in Washington State to the Telecom, High Voltage and Emergency Responders as all may be exposed due to hazardous levels of light.  A tech can easily start a fire with the unterminated fiber, depending on where in the network it is open.  Our rule, WAC 296-32 Telecommunications,  was written to be ahead of its time, and it still is today.  I also addressed fiber splicing hazards.

The rest of the country does not have a safety rule as up to date as Washington, however the famous pocket size “Red Book” can be ordered here for free.  However, the ANSI Z136.1 and .2 are a reference.

Thank you for your site and newsletter!  I hope you have an awesome day!

Rod Julian
Telecom Safety Specialist
Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries

The State of Washington has an excellent and comprehensive rule for optical communications systems using lasers: WAC 296-32-22576 You can also order a free copy of the Washington Rulebook on Safety Standards for Telecom.

Fiber Amps And Restoration

Is it safe for fiber techs to splice OSP networks that use fiber amplifiers as repeaters?  FOA received an inquiry about this recently for which we had no ready answer, so we did some research on the topic of fiber amplifiers. The question was whether techs working on restoring OSP links should be concerned about eye safety if the link used fiber amplifiers.

The answer is not a simple yes/no!
The short answer is YES; the long answer is more technical and includes details that every OSP tech needs to know.

First a bit of tech.

Fiber amplifiers have been around for decades, replacing electronic repeaters that convert a signal from the optical domain back into the electrical domain, remove some noise and retransmit it as an optical signal. Fiber amps replaced them because they used too much power and were unreliable.

Fiber amplifiers are used in WDM systems where there can be power from a number of different wavelengths, increasing the total power, or in analog systems like CATV HFC systems where high power DFB lasers are used.

fiber amplifier

The most common fiber amp (EDFA - erbiun-doped fiber amplifier) uses some complex physics that allows light entering a special fiber (generally erbium-doped fiber) to be amplified by the light from a high power "pump laser" at a different wavelength (980 or 1480 nm). Pump lasers can be as powerful as 10 watts, +40 dBm! Fiber amplifiers have gains of around 20 dB, so a "0 dBm" laser (1 mw) input will be amplified to +20 dBm (100 mw). That is a LOT of optical power.

A second type of fiber amp (RAMAN) uses the transmission fiber to amplify the signal using high-power pump lasers, sometimes at both ends of the fiber, at particular wavelengths. These are less common.

The problem that field techs need to worry about is whether a fiber amp will shut down if the link is broken. Transmission equipment generally shuts down the transceiver if the receive sees no input and initiates an alarm. If there are fiber amps in the link, will they shut down if there is no input? The answer is maybe.

The problem seems to be a lack of standardization in fiber amp design. Some amps have sensors on the input that shuts down the pump laser when there is no input. Those should be safe. But most designs, it seems, do not have that feature. We talked to two manufacturers and two users and the consensus is that fiber amps will have the output of the pump laser on the output fiber even with no signal at the input.

One user tested a unit with an input sensor. With a range of inputs from -12 to -4 dBm, the output was a constant at around +20 dBm. Below, -12 dBm, the output was zero - no light at all - even though the EDFA was switched on. However, when the EDFA was switched off, the unit was simply a passive component and would transmit signals at 1490 nm but not at 1550 nm, probably due to a WDM component in the output.

We talked to a manufacturer who mentioned that some EDFAs are designed this way and some are just amps. For example, he told me their products will produce ~20 dB gain, so an input of 1 mw will yield ~100 mw output. But if you remove the input, the amp will amplify the noise and transmit the pump laser on the output which will be about 30 mw, with the bulk of the power in the pump laser wavelength. A WDM will filter out the pump laser, but if a tech looks at a broken fiber with this fiber amp as an input, he will still be looking at a 30 mw optical output.


It appears that the fiber tech doing restoration on broken OSP fibers needs to have assurance that either the network does not have any fiber amps in the link being repaired or the network has been completely powered down - including the amps.

Never look into a fiber end or get it near your eye since a broken fiber can emit light at an angle.

Before working on any fiber, test it with a power meter to see if power is present.

And the tech probably should wear special laser safety glasses, but we have not found any yet that cover the entire wavelength range needed.

The State of Washington has an excellent and comprehensive rule for optical communications systems using lasers: WAC 296-32-22576 You can order a free copy of the Washington Rulebook on Safety Standards for Telecom.

If anyone with experience working with fiber amps has an input, please contact FOA.

Try The FOA's Online Loss Budget Calculator

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

                        Loss Budget Calculator

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

Worth Reading

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

Worth Reading (And Watching):

February 2022

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

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

Imagine a fiber optic cable that can sense it's about to be dug up and send a warning
Forget wiring cities with IoT devices – this could be how wide-scale sensing gets done - The Register

Avoiding Underground Utilities during Horizontal Directional Drilling Operations - OSHA (bookmark this!)

Another electrical co-op builds FTTH - ILSR Community Networks. The Lynches River Electric Coop is building FTTH to 21,000 customers.

Folson, CA in gold rush country to get  FTTH network Gold Country Media 

Cable TV is the new landline - NYTimes   " Maybe it seems inevitable and predictable that cable TV would go the way of the landline."

Building a Fiber-to-the-Home Network (video) - ILSR - simple and easy to understand video.

ADSS Advantages Over Strand and Lash Fiber Cables in Aerial Electric Utility Applications - AFL.

January 2022

Wireless Broadband: Things You Thought You Knew  CENIC, the CA Research/Educational Network ran a 90 minute webinar on wireless that is highly informative. They will be doing one on cable and one on fiber soon.

Building A Fiber-To-The-Home Network (video)  ILSR has created a short 2.5 minute video that shows how FTTH works and illustrates it with an actual network drop being installed.

SpaceX satellite narrowly missed Chinese lab before complaint LA Times. (we figured this venture would turn out badly....)

Testing Ruggedized Cable Assemblies With Multi-pin Connectors, Optotest

A Tale of Two Cities in Maine: Municipal Broadband and Misinformation. ILSR

What You Need to Know to Choose a PoE Tester, Fluke,

Ripley/Miller Wireless Fiber Optic Test Kit (Did you know Miller now has test products?)

November/December 2021 

Almost half of worldwide hyperscale data center capacity is in the U.S.: Synergy Research (reported in Lightwave)

California Governor Newsom Announces Initial Broadband Projects to Help Bridge Digital Divide Goldenstatenet Update

Conexon Connect gets $435M in latest RDOF round to serve fiber through rural co-ops - to build and operate fiber networks in 264,717 locations across Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri.

What’s in the infrastructure bill? - Protocol — The people, power and politics of tech, from Protocol

Satellite hopes meet internet reality - On Tech/NY Times

An Introduction to MoCA for Improved Home Network Performance - Belden/PPC (MoCA is a standard for Ethernet over CATV/Satellite coax used for in-home networks.)

The best practice guide to installing buried microduct - Belden/PPC

He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen? Washington Post (Philip Agre, a computer scientist turned humanities professor, was prescient about many of the ways technology would impact the world)

October 2021

Is OM5 Fiber a Good Solution for the Data Center? Six reasons why the answer is NO from Siemon.

Mapping Broadband Access With Garbage Trucks, and Other Innovative Municipal Initiatives in Shreveport, Louisiana - Episode 19 of Connect This! from Community Broadband Networks

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.

September 2021

How Much Does A Cable Installer Earn?

Communications Systems Grounding Rules: Article 800 provides specific requirements  by Michael Johnston,  NECA Executive Director of Standards and Safety in EC Magazine Essential Technologies for Intelligent Transportation Systems, Black & Veatch (download PDF)

In 2021, the number of states preserving legal barriers to municipal broadband networks dropped from 19 states to 17 states, ILSR Community Networks

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish

Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin 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.


Latest Issue November 2021.

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

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.

August 2021

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

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

Webinars (On Demand)

Tellabs' RDOF and the Tellabs FlexSym OLT-mini webcast plus download the slides
The OLT-mini is a low line count, small form factor and environmentally hardened OLT designed to keep deployment costs down, which makes it ideal for RDOF projects. (Tellabs mimiOLT was covered in the June FOA Newsletter about rural FTTH.)

The African Submarine Networking Seascape: A New and Emerging Market  
With this lightning-fast growth rate and eight new cables in the works, this is an emerging market with big network infrastructure projects to watch.

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish


Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin 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.

Latest Issue features FTTH
Todo Fibra Optica

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

Lightwave Magazine Is Back! 

                      Magazine is back!

Lightwave Magazine is back after many years as only a online newsletter. Lightwave was started in 1984 by Howard Rausch, a veteran newsman, a gentleman and a scholar! (JH) We reported on the demise of the printed version of Lightwave in the FOA Newsletter of March 2009. Lightwave is back as a digital magazine, perfect for the times, and still headed by Editorial Director Stephen Hardy, a veteran of the fiber optic community with great in-dept knowledge of the technology, companies and people who make fiber optics what it is today. Lightwave's comprehensive website continues too. All very worthwhile reading.

TeleGeography's New Submarine Cable Map

cable map

TeleGeography's new 2021 Submarine Cable Map is packed with new cables and stats. Not to mention the new graphics and FAQs! This edition is loaded with trivia on cable suppliers, content providers, deployments, fiber, and more.

The 2021 Submarine Cable Map depicts 464 cables and 1,245 landing stations; 428 cables are active and 36 are planned.
Of the planned cables, 19 were not depicted in our 2020 edition. (The combined length of those 19 new planned cables is 103,348 km!)

Statistics on US Labor In Telecom

Eric Pearson sent us some links to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the US Workforce. Granted it was updated in May 2019, but has lots of useful and interesting information on where the work is and what workers are paid.


Read the reports here:

Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers   (Install and repair telecommunications cable, including fiber optics.

Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers  (Install,
set up, rearrange, or remove switching, distribution, routing, and dialing equipment used in central offices or headends. Service or repair telephone, cable television, Internet, and other communications equipment on customers’ property. May install communications equipment or communications wiring in buildings.

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

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

Communications Systems Grounding Rules: NEC Article 800 provides specific requirements - Electrical Contractor Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Open Technology Institute at New America just published “The Cost of Connectivity 2020,”

US Ignite and Altman Solon issued “Broadband Models for Unserved and Underserved Communities

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.

The Internet Master Plan for New York City. The New York City Internet Master Plan is a comprehensive framework for the infrastructure and services that provide connectivity to New York City residents and businesses. This Master Plan will guide City actions and public-private partnerships to transform New Yorkers’ access to this essential infrastructure for generations to come.

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

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!

How Nexans Makes Copper Cables - compare the process to fiber - don't most of the machines look similar?

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)

Another Source Of Articles On Fiber

FOA President and editor of this newsletter Jim Hayes has also been writing a column in Electrical Contractor Magazine for almost 20 years now. Electrical contractors do lots of fiber work and this column has covered some topics they are interested in including installation processes, network design, fiber applications and a lengthy series on dark fiber - what it is, how's its used and how it benefits the growth of communication. A recent web site redesign makes it easier to browse all these articles - just go to and you can see all of them.


Tech Questions/Comments From FOA Newsletter Readers Worth Repeating

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!

The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQ s = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us and adds tech topics of general interest.

Questions From FOA Newsletter Readers

February 2022

MM Splice-on Connector On Singlemode Cable
I encountered a situation where a MM mechanical connector was used on a SM fiber and passed on an OTDR test. The client and I are interested in understanding how these connectors could have passed?
The joint between a multimode and singlemode fiber should have vrey high loss, ~17-20 dB, depending on the mode fill of the MM fiber. However the short length of the MM fiber, ~10mm, might not be enough to cause the modes to fill in the short fiber in the connector, resulting in relatively low loss.
Eric Pearson, one of the most knowledgeable people on connectors expressed this idea then tested it with 100m singlemode connected to a second singlemode cable. The second singlemode cable has an OM3 LC unicam connector, An EXFO ftb-400 OTDR indicates a 2.09 dB drop. That is way too much to pass a test but nowhere near the loss that could be expected from the MM/SM joint.
We plan some more tests on this issue.

November/December 2021

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.

Underground Utilities Location
Q: From an OSP engineer: Is there a resource for underground utilities that we could use on our engineering designs? I know some counties offer this info but is there a single resource for all?
A: If you are in the US, the Common Ground Alliance (  , is a resource for designers and contractors looking for information on underground utilities. Their “CGA Best Practices” ( is the best reference for damage prevention.
Otherwise, the local authorities and utilities are the best source. The department that issues permits is usually the place to start.
Even with that information, it is recommended that the contractor do their own search using underground locating equipment before digging.
You may find this page in the FOA Guide on underground cable construction useful. ( )

Q: What is the importance of reflectance and all the other numbers in installing and trouble shooting a fiber circuit?
A: Reflectance has always been a secondary issue to connection loss but has some important issues that need consideration. There are two basic issues with reflectance, affecting with the output of laser transmitters and creating background “noise” in a fiber link.
Reflectance can interact with the laser chip itself, causing laser transmitters nonlinearities or random fluctuations in the output. The background noise is a secondary issue, but can be seen in ghosts in an OTDR trace. The light bouncing back and forth in the fiber that causes ghosts will be added to the signal at the receiver end, adding noise to the actual signal. Both these effects are more significant on shorter links, for example FTTH or LANs using PONs (passive optical networks). We always recommend using APC (angled physical contact) connectors on short SM links. And most short SM networks do use APC connectors.
FOA tries to stick to the definition that reflectance is the light reflected from a connection but some others call it “return loss.” Return loss has been defined generally as the combination of reflectance and backscatter from the fiber, and that’s how OTDRs measure return loss. Standards vary in the definition sometimes.
Here is a FOA Guide page on reflectance that gives the basics and explains how it is tested.

October 2021

Fusion Splicing Regular And Bend-Insensitive Singlemode Fiber
Would fusion splicing single mode bend insensitive to standard fiber with same core cause a numerical aperture mismatch? We are seeing loss but it’s hard to tell from what. Going from a drop to BI inside cabling. Any direction is appreciated!

There is a lot of controversy in this area and has been for some time. The issue is mode field diameter(MFD)  differences between regular and bend-insensitive (BI) fiber caused by the low index trenches around the core that are used to limit bend insensitivity.

Some (maybe most) manufacturers make BI SMF to match MFD of their regular SMF, since a common use is splicing BI SMF pigtails onto regular SMF. With so much BI SMF fiber being used in microcables and high fiber count cables, the opposite situation could be an issue also.

Another factor at play here is the fusion splicing program. The different structures of the fiber may need special programming in the fusion splicer to get heat and feed right for the two different fibers.

FOA hopes to have some independent data on this topic soon. FOA Master Instructor Joe Botha has done tests before on splicing dissimilar fibers when BI fiber first became available (read the report here)  and has planned a more extensive set of tests to update that data for more recent fibers soon.

Connector Mating Adapter Loss
When looking in data sheets on duplex adapters, it’s telling me that it has a Insertion Loss of about 0,2dB. Is that common? Only thought it was the connector that had a loss.
A: Technically, a single connector or mating adapter does not have any loss. It’s not “connector loss” but “connection loss” defined as the insertion loss when two connectors are mated, and for most connectors that requires a 3rd component, a mating adapter to align the ferrules. (Some connectors like MPOs have their own alignment mechanism so the mating adapter merely holds the two connectors - one with pins and one with holes - together.)
The connector manufacturer’s specification for “Connector loss” is the loss of their connector mating to a reference connector with a mating adapter. Connectors are graded in ISO/IEC standards, but not TIA, and the best connectors are ~0.2dB loss when mated to another of the same grade.
If a mating adapter manufacturer is quoting loss, one assumes they mean their adapter with two of the best connectors will have a connection loss of 0.2dB.
Mating adapters for 2.5mm ferrule connectors - FC, SC and ST - have a split sleeve alignment bushing that is the critical element. They have been made with molded glass-filled plastic, phosphor bronze and ceramic. In our opinion/experience, the plastic ones are only good for multimode fiber and wear out in ~10 insertions, discoloring connector ferrules and leaving dust scraped off the plastic on the ferrule ends. The metal ones are good for SM or MM and hundreds of insertions, but they tend to wear and leave marks on the ceramic ferrules. The ceramic ones are recommended for SM and for testing as they work best and last practically forever.

August 2021

Height Of Aerial Fiber Optic Cables
Is there a code standard for how high from the ground a for a fiber optic cable running through a residential yard? if yes, please provide the standard or point me to the standard.
A: If we go by NEC 2020, the height is 8 feet,above roofs. with this qualifier. No driveways  just over grass. Art /section 770.44 B. Also 800.44 A 4 states 12 inches between electric service and Fiber optic cable. But service has to be 12 feet at house so I would say 11 feet above grass. If driveway is there, Residential 15 feet for service, electrical, so fiber at 14 feet.

Identifying Users On A PON Network
How or what testing tool or technique can I use to verify whether there is a live customer w/ONT working on any fiber i may select @ a splice enclosure prior to getting further down the cable and  to the MST service terminal. All our fibers have light on them leaving the CO so when we go into a splice enclosure to pick a fiber to connect a drop to, to service a home, they are usually all lit up in that enclosure.
A: The simple answer for a tool or technique that can tell you if a customer is connected on an output of a PON splitter is “documentation.” If you know where each fiber is connected going downstream. Then the IT person who programs users into the system can tell you if that fiber is connected to a customer. There is a possibility that there is a test solution. Have you ever heard of a “fiber identifier”? It’s a gadget that can tell if there is signal in a fiber and some can identify the direction it comes from. What I don’t know if the unit can somehow indicate bi-directional traffic. Nobody we contacted seems to know either.



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:
From the Council of State governments:
From the city of San Francisco:
An article about Dakota County, MN:

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

Is There A Standard For Fiber Optic Installation?

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

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

                        301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

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

Older questions are now available here.

/ FiberU

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

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

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

The FOA has >100 videos on videos 

FOA Network Of Approved Schools Continues To Grow

The need for more fiber optic networks to support broadband and wireless/5G networks has led to a strong demand for more trained and FOA-certified techs, and that has led to a demand for more training organizations. FOA has been adding new schools and certifying new instructors to meet the demand. Here are two new schools this month and more added recently.

New School - Arrow For Engineering #774, Amman, Jordan

Schools added recently:
School 398, Telecom Tech, Colorado
School 396 Optconn, Boston, MA
School 395 Fiber Wizards (Knowledge on Demand LLC)
School 393, Carolina's Solution Group
School 394, Tri-County Career Center, Nelsonville, Ohio
School 388:  Global Com of Sterling, Virginia, USA
School 389. CWA-JATC Telecom Training Center, San Jose, CA
School 390  Northern Allied Communications, Nespelem, WA
School 391  Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, ID
School 392  Wallace Community College, Dothan, AL

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations 

New Guidelines For Fiber Optic Training And Certification

When FOA was founded in 1995, fiber optics had already been in commercial use for about 15 years, long distance OSP networks were still being replaced by fiber optics, metro networks were just beginning to be converted to fiber optics and fiber-to-the-home was a distant dream. Premises applications were limited to a multimode LAN backbones where speeds or distances were too much for Cat 5 as well as some video links to remote security cameras.


FOA founders meet to create the CFOT certification, circa 1997

Over its first two years, a group of FOA advisors met to create the requirements for technician certification that became the CFOT, Certified Fiber Optic Technician. Those requirements became the KSAs, the knowledge, skills and abilities required to be a certified fiber optic technician. The KSAs in turn became the basis of developing curriculum for training and CFOT certification testing.

In 1995, a technician was expected to be able to work with both singlemode and multimode fiber. They needed to be familiar with loose tube and armored OSP cables as well as zipcord and distribution indoor cables. Splicing skills in both mechanical and fusion splicing were needed. Termination of singlemode fibers was done by splicing singlemode fibers to factory-made pigtails. Multimode termination was mostly done using adhesives and polishing, using heat-cured epoxy, anaerobic adhesives or the 3M Hot Melt connectors. Testing involved connector inspection and cleaning, power measurements and optical insertion loss with a light source and power meter. Long distance networks would also be tested with OTDRs.

At that time, some tools and instruments like visual fault locators, fusion splicers and OTDRs were less common and quite expensive, often too expensive to be included in a school’s training equipment inventory, so they were often described in class, maybe with a video, and demonstrated by the instructor or a salesperson.

Class                      2021 Class                      2021
Classroom training in 2021 with pandemic rules

Over the last 25 years much has changed in fiber optics. Network speed, driven by the growth in Internet traffic, has become thousands of times faster, wavelength-division multiplexing has become mainstream, FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) enabled by PON (passive optical network) technology has become one of top applications for fiber optics, along with connecting wireless cell sites. The expansion of wireless networks, traffic control systems, utility grid management, data centers, etc. has led to lots more fiber applications.

Virtually all this growth is in singlemode fiber. Ribbon cables, microcables and high-fiber count cables are being used extensively. Even data centers which utilize some of the fastest networks and have changed to singlemode to avoid replacing cables frequently when equipment speeds are upgraded. LANs are adopting PONs, joining DAS (cellular networks inside buildings) to convert many premises cabling systems to singlemode. Multimode fiber is not extinct, but certainly an endangered species.

A fusion splice-on connector

Installation techniques and components have changed too. Few techs terminate multimode with adhesive/polish connectors in the field anymore. First it was replaced by mechanical splice connectors in the field, what we called prepolished/splice connectors, but now it’s fusion SOCs – splice-on connectors – that are becoming the termination method of choice. They were first seen in data centers where it’s not unusual to have 100,000+ terminations in the cable plant. Now we have low-cost fusion splicers and SOCs that make it the logical – and often lowest cost – termination choice.

For testing, instruments like visual fault locators (VFLs) have become really cheap so everyone can have one for troubleshooting. Power meters are more automated and lower cost, as are laser test sources. Interestingly, multimode test sources with LEDs are in short supply as the 850 and 1300 nm LEDs they need are become harder to get because the market for them in fiber optics has disappeared; they have been replaced by VCSELs which are not good as test sources.

When FOA started, OTDRs were very expensive and primarily limited in use to long distance OSP networks. Now OTDRs are not only less expensive and capable of testing most networks, but they are highly automated. Manufacturers tout the ability of their OTDRs to use AI (artificial intelligence) to set up the instrument and interpret traces. That’s a logical approach, since the instruments are highly complex and hard to understand, therefore few techs ever learn how to properly use one.

remote OTDR
Remote automated OTDR classroom setup with student access by smartphones

FOA believes that fiber optic technician training courses need to reflect the real world, and as technology and applications change, training must change also. Today’s CFOT needs to be competent in working with singlemode fiber, fusion splicing, SOCs and the equipment used today for installation and testing. Hands-on labs should focus on this current technology to ensure competent techs.

FOA is creating new course guidelines for approved schools to follow to ensure their training fits current technician needs. These new guidelines will be ready for use in 2022.

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

The FOA Fiber U OJT program 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.  Upon completion of this program, the trainee will be prepared to take the exam for the FOA CFOT (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and/or CPCT (Certified Premises Cabling Technician), the most widely recognized fiber optic and premises cabling certifications in the industry.


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 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too. Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U     

FOA "Work-To-Cert" Program

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

More techs have become comfortable with online conferences, webinars and training. Many have discovered that they 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 already 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 "Work to Cert" 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.

FTTH Updates In The FOA Guide And YouTube

FTTH has always been the most popular application for FOA's knowledge base. The subject is a major topic in the FOA Guide and the Fiber U FTTH course has been very popular. Many of our FOA approved schools use the FOA curriculum and teach combination courses for CFOT/CFOS/H for techs and CFOS/D (design) and CFOS/H for designers.

As with all topics in the FOA knowledgebase, we try to keep up to date, incorporating the latest developments and trends to ensure our materials are most useful to the industry.

Here's what we've created and updated recently:

Rural Broadband
The new reference page on rural broadband is intended to be a reference guide for those looking for more information on rural broadband and FTTH. It includes some basic information about rural broadband and gathers up links to the many articles FOA has done on the topic, the FOA Guide pages on broadband and FTTH.


FOA Guide: Added a section on FTTH Network Design, updated sections on Architecture and PONs (including 10G)
FOA's YouTube Channel: Added 4 new FTTH videos on Network Architecture, PONs, Network Design and Installation/Test.
FOA Lecture 70 Rural Broadband
How Can These New Materials Benefit You?
  • Update your knowledge: Even if you already have your CFOS/H or have completed the FTTx self-study course on Fiber U, we recommend you go back to the Fiber U course on FTTH Network Design and take the architecture, PON and Design lesson again.
  • Getting Started in FTTH:  We recommend buying a copy of FOA's FTTH Handbook or going straight to the Fiber U FTTx self-study course which will get you started right most quickly.  
  • Learning More About Special Topics in FTTH: Read the new/updated pages on the FOA Guide and watch the new videos.
  • Designing FTTH Networks: If you are involved in the design of FTTH networks but new to fiber optics, start with the Fiber U Fiber Optic Network Design course then take the Fiber U FTTx self-study course.
  • Teaching FTTH Courses: If you are already an FOA-approved school, download the new updated curriculum. Not an FOA School? Contact FOA.
  • Employee OJT

What's Next?
Our next project is to use these new/updated training materials to help train more techs.
  • Training at FOA approved schools:  We will of course work through the FOA network of approved schools, many of which already teach FTTH courses.
  • OJT (On the job training): We will also be reaching out to network owners and managers and their contractors who can use all these free materials for OJT - on the job training - for their workers.

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.

Fiber Optics In Communications  

How Optical Fiber Works 

Fiber Optic Network Restoration 

Fiber Optic Connector Identification

Fiber U Color Codes 

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Fiber Optic Cable Bend Radius

Fiber Optic Link Loss And Power Budgets

Fiber Optic Connector Inspection And Cleaning

Fiber Optic Media Conversion  

Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access  

Reading An OTDR Trace  

Reference Cables For Testing

Fiber Optic Attenuators

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

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

What Fiber Techs Don't Know -

What We Learn From FOA Certification Tests

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

Most of the questions missed are on testing.

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

2. The difference between dB and dBm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book

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

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

Time To Learn - Online

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

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

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

Offline Fiber U
FOA has also created offline Fiber U modules to allow students with poor or limited Internet access to use the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics and Premises Cabling programs without Internet access. Contact FOA for information on using this option.

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.  Information on the kit is available on YouTube. You can contact them for more information at or

/ Resources


More New FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

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

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

Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U
To explain How OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short 10 minute YouTube video that explains what OJT is, who uses it and how to use Fiber U to organize and enhance OJT for new employees and experienced workers too.

More New Videos Including FTTH Series
As part of developing the new Fiber U MiniCourses, we added several new YouTube videos:

Lecture 56 explains the issues of cable bend radius limitations, typical cable specifications and how to gage the proper radius or diameter when installing or storing cable. Lecture 57 covers problems with dirty connectors and how to inspect and clean them.

4 New Lectures on FTTH - #63-66  Plus #70 on Rural Broadband

New Lecture on Fiber Optics at Electrical Utilities - #67

FOA Lecture 51 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 1 - Causes of Damage To The Network  
FOA Lecture 52 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 2 - Planning For Restoration 
FOA Lecture 53 Fiber Optic Restoration Part 3 - Troubleshooting And Repair
FOA Lecture 54 Fiber Optic Connector Identification - New and old
FOA Lecture 55 The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics. - Understanding dB 
FOA Lecture 56 Fiber Optic Cable - Bend Radius -  Important for Installers to Understand
FOA Lecture 57 Fiber Optic Connector Inspection and Cleaning -  Most Connection Problems Are Caused By Dirty Connectors
FOA Lecture 58 Fiber Optic Media Conversion  - Copper To Fiber Made Easy
FOA Lecture 59 Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access   - How to drop fibers from a cable with minimal splicing
FOA Lecture 60 How Fiber Works   - Animated explanations of how fiber transmits light
FOA Lecture 61 Fiber Optic Color Codes    
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  

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


NEW: 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.

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 and French (print and online) and Portuguese (online only.)

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

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
The FOA is concerned about safety!

There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number in the USA: Dial 811

See for more information

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

Safety Leader Magazine

Safety Leader

Safety Leader, a new quarterly magazine, informs and educates electrical contractors on safety from various angles—electrical, workplace, PPE, regulations, leadership, line work, NFPA 70E, and more. Safety Leader is bundled with ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR in February, May, August and November. To receive Safety Leader subscribe to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine here or subscribe to the ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR newsletter here.

2022 Conference On Damage Prevention In Phoenix
Excavation Safety Conference

Global Excavation Safety Conference

Phoenix AZ

March 1-3, 2022


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′.

 Best Practices Guide For Underground Construction
                      Practices - CGA

We assume you are familiar with the "One Call" and "Call Before You Dig" (811) program, but are you also familiar "Click Before You" and with the people behind it - the Common Ground Alliance and their Best Practices website?

Officially formed in 2000, the CGA represents a continuation of the damage prevention efforts embodied by the Common Ground Study. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and completed in 1999, this Study represents the collaborative work of 160 industry professionals who identified best practices relating to damage prevention. Any best practice or program endorsed by the CGA comes with consensus support from experts representing the following stakeholder groups: Excavators, Locators, Road Builders, Electric, Telecommunications, Oil, Gas Distribution, Gas Transmission, Railroad, One Call, Public Works, Equipment Manufacturing, State Regulators, Insurance, Emergency Services and Engineering/Design.

Read the CGA Best Practices Guide here.

Here are all the CGA resources for damage prevention.

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

FOA Corporate Members - Products & Services

List of corporate member information provided by FOA corporate members listed on the FOA website.


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 was 25 years old July 2020 - Read about FOA's history

Learn More About FOA's History.

Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <>

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. or email <>
Phone: 1-760-451-3655

The FOA Home Page

Fiber Optic Timeline  

(C)1999-2022, 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.