FOA logo (R)   

September 2021

Search the FOA website

FOA Home Page       Contact Us

Sign up for the FOA eMail Newsletter       Privacy Policy


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

In This Issue
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 - whcih we often do when we think it's very important!


Ohio  To Increase Broadband Workforce
FOA Assists With New Ohio School
Fiber U Basics Course Now In Spanish
Building Rural Broadband
New FOA Video - Fiber At Electrical Utilities
Muni Broadband Has ISPs Worried
FOA FTTH Handbook a "Best Seller"
FOA OJT Program

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

How's 5G Wireless Doing?
Linden Cables Delivers 25km Cable
All-Dielectric Alternative To Armored Cable
High Density Connection System
New Fiber Magazine in Spanish

Reflectance or Return Loss?
100G Coherent PONs
Why Aerial Cables Are Overlashed
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.

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

Trademarks: The FOA CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online 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.
Lennie 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

Search the FOA Website With DuckDuckGo

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.
1/21, 2/21. 3/21, 4/21, 5/21, 6/21, 7/21, 8/21, 9/21,    
1/20, 2/20, 3/20. 4/205/20, 6/20, 7/20, 8/20, 9/2010/20, 11/20, 12/20
1/19, 2/19, 3/19, 4/19, 5/19, 6/19, 7/19, 8/19, 9/19, 10/19, 11/1912/19
1/18, 2/18, 3/18, 4/18, 5/18, 6/18, 7/18, 8/18, 9/18, 10/18, 12/18
1/17, 2/17, 3/17, 4/17, 5/17, 6/17, 7/17, 8/17, 9/17, 10/17, 11/17, 12/17 
1/16, 2/16, 3/16,  4/16, 5/166/167-8/16, 9/16, 10/16, 11/16, 12/16     
1/15, 2/15, 3/15, 4/15, 5/15, 6/15, 7/15, 8/15, 9/15 , 10/1511/15 , 12/15
1/14, 2/14, 3/14, 4/14, 5/14, 6/14, 7/14, 8/14, 9/14, 10/14, 11/14, 12/14 
1/132/13, 3/13, 4/13, 5/13, 6/13, 7/13, 8/13, 9/13, 10/13, 11/1312/13 
1/12 , 2/12, 3/12, 4/12, 6/12, 7/12, 8/12, 9/12, 10/12, 11/12, 12/12   
1/11 ,  2/11,  3/11,  4/11,  6/11, 7/11, 8/11,  9/11, 10/11, 11/11,  12/11,  
1/10 ,  2/10, 3/10,  4/10,   05/10,  07/10, 08/10,  09/10,  10/10, 11/10 
1/09 ,  2/09,  3/09, 04/09,  05/09,  07/09, 08/09, 09/09, 10/09, 11/09,  12/09
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
12/06 , 11/06, 10/06, 09/06, 8/06, 7/06, 6/06, 5/06, 4/06, 3/06, 2/06, 1/06,
12/05 ,11/05, 10/05, 09/05, 08/05, 07/05, 6/05, 5/05, 4/05, 2/05, 01/05,
12/04 , 10/04, 9/04, 8/04, 7/04, 6/04, 5/04, 4/04, 3/04, 1/04,
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 four LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official 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)

SPECIAL OFFER -  1/3 Off Your Certification Renewal Cost

In the near future, there will be a requirement for continuing education to renew your FOA certifications. FOA is testing an option for renewals where you take a short Fiber U online course. 

If you would like to help FOA test this option, you can save 1/3 the cost of your renewal.  Go here to take the Fiber U CFOT Renewal Course

Fiber Optic Timeline  

FOA Newsletter - Features

Ohio Launches Strategy To Increase Broadband Workforce

FOA Assists State Of Ohio Initiate Workforce Training Program In Fiber Optics

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation (OWT), announced the launch of a new Fiber Optic Technician program at Tri-County Career Center in Nelsonville, Ohio. The announcement is part of a larger effort launched today through OWT and BroadbandOhio to grow the workforce needed to expand broadband access and 5G.

TriCounty Ohio

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted (center) announces the fiber optic program at TriCounty Career Center

The “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce” Strategy underscores the significant public and private investments being made in broadband and 5G at the state and federal level, which in turn is expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in Ohio over the next decade. In an effort to ensure that Ohio has a skilled and prepared workforce to fill these kinds of jobs, the strategy outlines a plan for increasing broadband industry career awareness and creating more training and education programs in the state.

“In Ohio and across the nation there is a sense of urgency to expand high-speed internet, but you can’t expand the infrastructure without a workforce to build it,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “One way we are building that workforce in Ohio is through the innovative Fiber Optic Technician program at Tri-County Career Center, where you can earn the skills and certificates in as little as six and a half weeks and start a new career that pays well and provides long-term stability.”

Lt. Governor Husted traveled to Tri-County Career Center in Athens County to promote the Fiber Optic Technician program, which is one of only four Fiber Optic Association (FOA) approved programs in the state. Fiber Optic Technicians perform functions relating to the deployment and operation of a fiber-optic network.

The State of Ohio provided $30,000 to purchase equipment and the tools needed to launch this program and worked with the industry to find an instructor. Additionally, up to $10,000 of the $30,000 grant may be used for tuition assistance to reduce the cost for prospective students.

FOA has been working with Kelly Leffler, Director of Adult Education
at TriCounty Career Center, to help get the program started. Tri-County is a career training center for 11-12 grade students and adults offering 23 courses for high schoolers and 4 adult education programs. FOA is helping Kelly organize the course, certify an instructor, acquire the proper equipment for the labs and provide the FOA CFOT curriculum for the training. Students completing the program will be FOA CFOT Certified.

The instructor, Jim Lump, is from Horizon, a 125 year old telecom company serving Ohio, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Indiana, that is a co-sponsor of the TriCounty program. Horizon  offers cutting edge residential and enterprise Internet service as well as telecom and CATV service.

“Tri-County is excited for this awesome opportunity to work with the state and Horizon to bring Broadband training to Southeastern Ohio which will provide job opportunities for our local residents,” said Connie Altier, Superintendent of the Tri-County Career Center. “The opportunities for them are so promising!

The strategy announced today addresses three key issues:

• Increasing broadband industry career awareness by exposing middle school and high school students to the industry through curriculum and internships
• Developing and supporting more education and training programs to educate and train Ohioans (similar to the Fiber Optic Technician program at Tri-County Career Center)
• Capitalizing on state and federal funding programs, like TechCred and WIOA, to help finance the education and training that will bring to market the talent supply needed for the broadband and 5G industry in Ohio

The “Strengthening Ohio’s Broadband & 5G Workforce” Strategy can be found on the BroadbandOhio website.

Learn more about the Fiber Optic Technician program at the
Tri-County Career Center.

Tri-County Career Center is FOA Approved School #394.

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

FOA's online learning site, Fiber U, has over two dozen free self-study courses on fiber optics and premises cabling. Unsurprisingly, the most popular subject is the "Basic Fiber Optics" course, used for getting started in fiber optics and as a prep course for taking the FOA CFOT certification exam.

Now the basic fiber optic course is available in Spanish, using the FOA textbook in Spanish, the online Guide section in Spanish and the ability of YouTube to translate video captions into Spanish. The course works exactly like the English version with 10 lessons, each with quizzes, and an option to take a Certificate of Completion exam.

To introduce the new Spanish Fiber U Course, the Certificate of Completion exam is free, so please tell your your contacts about it,

Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics Course In Spanish.

Fiber U 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.

How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History

rural electrification in america

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.

New FOA YouTube Lecture:  Fiber Optics At Electrical Utilities

FOA has found that many people in the industry are unfamiliar with how utilities use fiber optics, so we created a new YouTube Lecture on the subject.
Electrical utilities were early adopters of fiber optics, not far behind the telcos. The advantages of fiber optics for long distance networks and high speed data were important, but its immunity to electrical interference meant that fiber optic cables could be installed near high voltage electrical wires without problems. It even allowed creating electrical conductors with fiber optics in the center - OPGW, optical fiber ground wire.

fiber optics at electrical utilities

Lecture 67 Fiber Optics At Electrical Utilities   

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

Municipal Broadband Is Doing Great; They Have Big ISPs Worried

Many tech websites recently had articles saying something like "ACI Study Says Muni Broadband Networks Won’t Bridge Digital Divide"

That organization name, ACI, seemed familiar, so I looked it up. They are included in the Center for Media And Democracy’s SourceWatch here:

Here is what  SourceWatch says about ACI:

ACI Ties to Internet Service Providers

Much of the ACI research has been largely in the field of telecommunications. "Internet Public Policy" and "Technology" are both listed on its site as "issues" the organization covers. The Institute has been cited in articles dating back to 2006 opposing network neutrality regulation.[6] When Net Netruality started making national headlines again in 2017, Steve Pociask, President and CEO of The American Consumer Institute, penned an op-ed advocating for Title II to be rolled back.[7]

According to Lee Fang's Vice article, the American Consumer Institute has been partially funded since 2010 by "a foundation controlled by lobbyists from the cell phone industry, called"[3Pociask was the Chief Economist for the Bell Atlantic Corporation. Anne Danehy, one of the members of the board at ACI, "has worked with large corporations, using public opinion research to create positive public images."[10]

You may remember ACI because of their opposition to net neutrality. They also have been fighting California’s environmental regulations. They are what's known as an "astroturf" organization, a fake grass-roots group.

The opposition by lobbyists for incumbents leads one to conclude that municipal broadband is a great solution, which it is! But one can also learn how well municipal broadband is working by reading the numerous reports about successful municipal broadband, starting with the most famous, Chattanooga's EPB, and documented well by organizations like ILSR in their newsletter Community Networks.

Looks like FOA has a "best seller"!

FOA FTTH Handbook

FOA's FTTH Handbook:
We've gathered all our information on FTTH from the FOA Guide and past issues of the FOA Newsletter and edited it into an "FTTH Handbook." This large (8.5X11")
112 page book is full of information on FTTH to help you understand it and be more effective at implementing FTTH projects.

This FTTH Handbook is not just for technicians working on FTTH networks. It's even subtitled: For Planners, Managers, Designers, Installers And Operators Of FTTH - Fiber To The Home - Networks. We even added a section on planning and managing FTTH Projects for them.

So if you are involved in a FTTH project or are considering starting one, this book is for you too.

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

Offer Extended: Take the updated free Fiber U FTTH course and Certificate Test FREE until December 30, 2021!

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

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     

100G Coherent PON networks? Read more in Tech below.

FOA Newsletter Sections

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


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

How's 5G Wireless Doing?

We've been subjected to years of hype about how great 5G is going to be, networks are being built and the second generation of 5G phones are now available, so just how good is 5G wireless service? The Washington Post tech editors have been testing 5G in San Francisco and New York to find out how 5G is doing in 2021. What did they find?

"Over the last few weeks, we’ve found that these networks have become generally faster than the 4G service you’re used to, but not always by very much."

Read their report in the Washington Post.

Here is an interesting bit of technical information that they provide in the article.

How much speed do you really need? (You will be surprised!)
  • Zoom says you only need a 1.5 Mbps data connection for calls, but realistically you’ll want at least a 10 Mbps connection for better quality.
  • Netflix recommends a 5 Mbps data connection for watching HD content, or 25 Mbps for 4K video. Hulu says 16 Mbps down is good enough for their 4K movies and TV shows.
  • Streaming games to your phone on services like Google Stadia or Microsoft Game Pass? Both companies recommend having at least a 10 Mbps connection, but better speeds mean better graphics and playability.

So why do we need "gigabit" networks? Because networks share bandwidth among users, so more bandwidth means more satisfied users with lower latency and higher quality video.

Linden Cables Delivers 25km Cable Length

Generally fiber optic cable is limited in length to ~5km but some applications require longer lengths. Linden Photonics provides cables for many specialized applications, many in undersea remote operated vehicles. Recently they announced they had delivered what must be a record length of continuouls cable - 25 km of their Buoyant STFOC(tm) cable. How did they do this?

fiber optic cable
Full details on the cable are not yet available, but FOA will update this as information becomes available.

Linden Photonics

New All-Dielectric Alternative To Armored Indoor Cable


Belden OptiTuff Mini Fiber Cable combines the durability of metal armored solutions with the performance
and installation ease of all-dielectric solutions.  It provides a cost- effective, ruggedized
all-dielectric option for FTTx, POL/PON and raised-floor applications—with no grounding or conduit required. Fewer layers and the elimination of metal armor creates a lightweight cable with a high level of flexibility, plus a small diameter and small bend radius for easy cable preparation, installation and pulling.

Key Features
• 90% lighter than metal armored cable
• 70% smaller diameter vs metal armored cable and 50%
smaller than non-armored cable
• Small bend radius for high-density raceway or
tray installation (3 times smaller than non-armored; 9 times smaller than metal armor)
• Rugged enough to be stapled to walls
• High crush resistance for excellent reliability

Belden OptiTuff Mini Fiber Cable  

Legrand Announces High Density Connection System


Legrand has announced a new high density connection system they call Infinium acclAIM that is an alternative to MPO array connector systems. It appears to use the US Conec MDC connector, a small, vertical form factor connector using the well-proven 1.25mm ferrules from the LC/MU connector family with the MDC 4-port adapter..

Using high density duplex connectors offers a big advantage over MPO array connectors, simplified polarity management. MPO polarity is so complex that explaining it takes up about half of the ~80 page TIA 568.3 fiber optic standard.

More information on the Legrand Infinium acclAIM system.  

100G Coherent PON networks? Read more in Tech below.

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


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.

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.

Reflectance or Return Loss; OptoTest Explains The Causes (Sept 2021)

Mate two fibers with connectors and you expect to see some reflectance or return loss. Reflectance and return loss at a fiber joint are actually nearly the same thing but with opposite signs, which, like some other fiber parameters that are expressed in dB, can be quite confusing. Sometimes return loss for a cable plant includes reflectance from joints plus the integrated backscatter from the fiber, another source of confusion.

This paper goes into great detail at what happens at a fiber joint and includes a much more comprehensive analysis than a typical explanation. It's a very interesting paper for those who enjoy the really in-depth explanation of simple topics.

Download a copy here.

100G Coherent PONs (August 2021)

FOA attended a virtual EPRI fiber optic meeting recently and heard a talk given by Curtis Knittle of CableLabs, the R&D organization for the CATV industry in the US. The talk included a description of work being done at CableLabs on 100G passive optical networks (PON) using coherent transmission. This was the first time we had heard of coherent transmission and PONs being used together.

However, it makes sense. There are other projects to make faster PON networks such as the 50G PON project at ITU, but speeds beyond this generally require quite sophisticated links using WDM or parallel optics. At 100G and above, long distance networks have been using coherent transmission for several years now. Coherent transceivers have gotten inexpensive enough that they are now being offered for short links including 100G+ in data centers.

If coherent links are inexpensive to use in data centers and metro links, they are probably going to be used in PONs also, especially because their greater dynamic range could allow PONs to have greater numbers of splits or cover larger geographic areas.

And that's just the idea. the coherent PON (CPON) may be configured with split ratios up to 512, something quite useful in dense urban applications, and 100G speeds could provide sufficient bandwidth to make it possible to serve that many users.


(km max)
20 (60LR)

In addition, the power budget of a coherent link is such that the length of fiber supported could reach 80km, expanding the geographic reach of the PON architecture.

Obviously no individual FTTH subscriber needs 100G, but 100G allows for multiplexing 40 X GPON channels, 10 X 10XGS PON channels or other combinations. Typical FTTH subscribers need only GPON, MDUs and business users could get 10GPON and other bandwidths could be allocated for additional networks like small cell wireless.

And 80km reach might make rural PONs more feasible, maybe in conjunction with the remote OLTs we described in the June FOA Newsletter.

When you think about it, coherent PONs make a lot of sense and are an obvious step in the development of fiber optic networks.

There are a lot of interesting slides in this CableLabs presentation online.

Is This The Reason So Many Aerial Cables Are "Overlashed" On Bundles?

An FOA instructor ran into one of his students in the field, lashing an aerial cable to a bundle of cables already installed. He asked the installer why they did not use ADSS cable or install another messenger for their cable. He was told that if they install another messenger or separate cable, they have to pay a pole attach fee for each pole, but if they lash to the bundle, it costs nothing. To them if was a smart business decision.

Try The FOA's Online Loss Budget Calculator

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

FOA Loss Budget Calculator

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

Worth Reading

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

Worth Reading (And Watching):

September 2021

Google Fiber Drops TV Service In Austin and Atlanta, Concentrates on Internet  Austin American-Statesman  

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 features FTTH
Todo Fibra Optica

August 2021

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

Six Community Broadband Networks Demonstrate Diversity of Approaches to Connectivity Challenges ILSR Community Networks.

Prysmian beefing up North American fiber cable production, Lightwave

New Hampshire Cooperative Expands FTTH Network ILSR Community Networks

Governor Parson Announces $400 Million Plan To Improve Broadband Infrastructure In Missouri  
Governor Newsom (CA) Signs Historic Broadband Legislation to Help Bridge Digital Divide

Alaska Communications supplies undersea fiber for earthquake monitoring - Lightwave

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

dpPro Fall 2021
The Fall 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.

July 2021

Community Networks notes that community-owned and operated broadband networks have topped PCMag's annual "Fastest ISPs in America" analysis for three years running, poking holes in arguments that modern network infrastructure is too complicated or costly for local communities to build and operate successfully.

Municipal Broadband Advocates Win Major Victory in Ohio as the lawmakers turn down an amendment to the state budget that would ban municipal broadband networks. Community Networks

Technical Standards For OSP Installations from the Communications and Information Technology Commission of Saudi Arabia. Very thorough, easily understood. Courtesy FOA instructor Tom Collins.

Scenes From California’s Sugar Fire - The Atlantic. Look at photo #7 and imagine your aerial cable under those conditions.

Knoxville Utilities Board Set To Build Largest Municipal Fiber Network In The Nation The Knoxville City Council unanimously approved a proposal to build a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. Network construction is expected to cost $702 million and take seven to 10 years to build out, reaching 210,000 households. Community Networks.

Muni Broadband Wave Washes Across Massachusetts  Muni Broadband Wave Washes Across Massachusetts. Community Networks.

Worth Reading:  June 2021

Lightwave Magazine is back after many years as only a online newsletter.

To Fill Millions of Open Jobs, Many Workers Need More Than Skills (NYTimes) Helping people land good jobs with career paths takes more than skills training, labor experts say. Coaching, mentoring and other assistance are also needed.

Traditional Federal Money Drying Up For Rural Broadband “We’re taxing the telephone networks to pay for the broadband network,” said Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission. “That’s like taxing horseshoes to pay for highways.” Read more from Bloomberg.

Worth Reading:  May 2021

China starts large-scale testing of its internet of the future
China launched a large-scale experimental network in Beijing on Tuesday to test the future of internet technology over the next five to 10 years.Headquartered at Tsinghua University, the “future internet technology infrastructure” connects 40 of the…
Read in Apple News from South China Morning Post:

Ransomware attack leads to shutdown of major U.S. pipeline system Washington Post. The attack on top U.S. operator Colonial Pipeline appears to have been carried out by an Eastern European-based criminal gang. Are you sure you want that critical system connected to the Internet?

NeoPhotonics Announces Cumulative Shipments of 2 Million Ultra-Narrow Linewidth Lasers for Coherent Transmission Systems  That's a lot of coherent systems!

The federal government is rolling out record amounts of broadband funding. It could be just the beginning. The federal government is starting to disburse more than $10 billion to bring more Americans affordable Internet. Washington Post

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

Lightwave Magazine Is Back! 

Lightwave 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

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.

June 2021

Using FOA Resources To Learn
I've been working in this industry since October 2018. Started as a Field Service Engineer fielding aerial and underground. I have since become a Project Engineer working with aerial OSP and ISP. What is the catch? This is just an amazing platform to continue with for me. It's been all about the OJT, but this is just a great resource for me now and the YouTube videos allow me to watch your videos from today as well as 10 plus years ago.
How can I use the website to benefit me? Where should I start? I just want to watch every YouTube video before I focus on your website, but maybe I want to do both, Suggestions?
A: FOA has three options to get information:
FOA Guide is the FOA knowledgebase, ~1000 pages of technical material generated by the FOA technical advisors around the world. The link is to the Table of Contents where you can find pages on just about any topic in fiber optics from fiber to coherent communications. Every year about 1/2 million users download about 4 million pages!
Linked from the Guide above is the FOA YouTube channel which you have found. It’s over 100 videos, about 60 lectures on tech topics, where you can get very familiar with my voice - I’m the lecturer. The FOA videos are listed here:
You can also go to the FOA channel on YouTube: go to the FOA Channel “thefoainc"
Fiber U  is our free online learning site. We started online learning at Fiber U in 1997. Today it has over two dozen free online self-study courses that lead to a Fiber U Certificate of Completion. Courses include Basics of Fiber Optics with an accompanying Basic Skills Lab, where many people start, especially if they are aiming at FOA CFOT certification, the primary certification from FOA.
We also have basic courses on premises cabling, OSP construction and installation, splicing, termination, testing, network design and about a  dozen that cover specific applications. The FTTH course was developed when Verizon approached FOA in 2005/6 to help with the rollout of FiOS - training and recruiting installers.
FOA”s problem is we have too much “stuff”! It’s so much it can be confusing on where to start. We generally recommend going to Fiber U and picking courses that are important to your work. Those courses will lead you to the appropriate pages in the FOA Guide and videos on YouTube.
But we are always here to help. Tell us what you are interested in and we can point you to the right places (often including websites of manufacturers of products who also have immense amounts of applications information.)

We’re now working on a “Roadmap” to help people find their way, but that will take time, there are a lot of paths to connect!

Slow Internet After Conversion From DSL To FIber
Could you please help me understand why I am getting a slow connection (the same as when I was using anADSL box and sometimes even a bit slower) while having a fiber optic connection to my home (FTTH then RJ45 between wall & iMac)?
I am using an old iMac from early 2009 but the cable needed is a regular RJ45, so I do not see why it should not take the high speed connection...
As a matter of fact, it still takes several seconds (3 to 6 or even 12) for some pages to load...
A:There are several possible reasons your Internet is slow loading pages.
The fiber optic link to your residence may have little or nothing to do with the speed you see. If you use a speed test to check the speed of the connection, it’s probably going to show faster speeds, but it generally only tests the connection to your ISP - Internet Service Provider - not to the Internet or a remote data center.  The actual connection to the data center sending you the pages you request may be hundreds or thousands of km long and through many switches, so that could affect the speeds.
The major problem we see is the speed of the connection of your ISP to the Internet. If they have many subscribers, the “traffic jam” is at their connection. This is generally easy to see over the time of day. In the evening when many people are streaming TV or movies, it sends to get much slower, just like automobile traffic during rush hour. At times when fewer people are online, speeds will be faster.
We have exactly the same problem here in Santa Monica. Our Internet over a cable modem tests at 100-200 Mb/s but pages are slow loading because so many people are on the network at once.
However, I also suspect your 12 year old iMac. The typical web page is more complex than a decade ago and may contain hundreds of files including graphics that have to be downloaded and assembled for you to see the page.Newer computers are much faster and software is more efficient at handling large pages.

Seal End Of Cable
For aerial OSP cable, are there any problems with leaving the end of the cable open or should it always be put into a closure of some kind?
A: The open end of the cable allows moisture to get into the cable and can be a problem.
I see several scenarios here. If the cable is installed and waiting for splicing, it could be a matter of time. If the work is to be done soon - a week or two - leaving it open is OK, but if the time is longer or you prefer being careful, just seal the end of the cable by wrapping it with plastic electrical tape. The end will be opened up for splicing;  about 2m of cable needs to be stripped to splice it, so a few days exposure is OK, but long term we’d recommend a simple tape seal, the way manufacturers do when shipping cable on a reel.


Dig Once

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.

NECA/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 Schools added in September 2021:
School 395 Fiber Wizards (Knowledge on Demand LLC)

Schools added recently:
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

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:

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.

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.

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  

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 "Work-To-Cert" Program

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

This year, 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.

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

FOA 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 kit

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

FOA Guide

More New FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

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

Lecture 67 Fiber Optics At Electrical Utilities
This new FOA video covers the applications of fiber optics at electrical utilities, looks at the various ways they mix communications on fiber with power transmission and distribution, and talks about the role of electrical utilities in delivering broadband, especially to rural areas.

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 

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?

YouTube translations
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

FOA 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

FOA FTTH Handbook

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 book
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.
Lennie 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 finger
Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultantcy

Safety Leader Magazine

Safety Leader Magazine

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
Best 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.   


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
(C)1999-2020, 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.