Recently, I spoke at the FTTH Council regional meeting that was held here in Minneapolis. Typically when I’m invited to speak at a professional forum, I end up hearing and learning more than I share. This time, I was struck by how smart and forward-thinking my Clearfield colleagues are.

The topic was: “How fiber can reduce the op/ex costs of running a telecommunications network.” The panel of subject matter experts included the likes of Corning, OFS and TE Connectivity. We all shared personal examples where our firms have significantly helped customers lower their operating expenses.

It wasn’t all anecdotal though. For example, we referenced a study performed by Michael Render of Render-Vanderslice. Among the findings, it was reported the average revenue per unit (ARPU) goes up more than 30% after FTTH is operational — while the op/ex costs went down by more than 20%.

The challenge, of course, is cash flow – namely, the up-front cost of funding a FTTH network. For starters, we recognize that fiber connectivity and management are not the same from vendor to vendor. Case in point: significant amounts of money are invested in enhancing the performance levels of the network by demanding more finely-tuned laser performance. Yet, the same amount of performance gain can be achieved by demanding patch cords that guarantee a 0.2dB loss per mated pair (rather than the standard industry accepted standard of 0.4dB). Clearfield’s FiberDeep Patch Cords provide that performance gain, with no added cost – freeing up much needed cash flow.

It seems that you can’t open a trade magazine without seeing news of another major FTTH project. (One of our customers called the recent splash of announcements by major carriers “Fiber to the Press Release.” I told him I was going to borrow that very descriptive phrase!)

I agree that there is a lot of talk about FTTH. And in the months, quarters and year ahead, as these deployments take shape, there won’t be enough skilled labor to go around. That’s another area where I’m happy to report that Clearfield is ahead of the curve. Our engineering efforts are dedicated to maximizing the skilled labor already available in the market for transport and network splicing, while introducing new and expanded revenue opportunities through labor-light technologies.

We’ll be addressing more on these topics going forward. Also, look for upcoming Clearfield product announcements moving forward.