Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

When meeting with customers, I’m often asked for the “secret sauce” regarding constructing a Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network. This is especially true when the focus is placed on issues such as cost per home passed and return on investment (ROI).

One emerging industry trend, for example, is bidding out the entire network build. Providers dictate a price that they’re willing to pay and pass on the entire process to a turnkey company.

However, people become so focused on the up-front capital cost that they often overlook the cost of the entire process. I’m not saying that providers should throw their concerns to the wind when it comes to capital dollars. But I’m saying that they should also take overall expense dollars into consideration when calculating the total cost of constructing and maintaining their network.

Make it last

Understanding the capabilities of your workforce, your timeline to delivery and your mean time to repair are all factors that should come into play when estimating your total build cost. Many people can build a network—but will it last?

Simple and comprehensive products are vital to controlling labor. I wouldn’t want to have someone who gets a high hourly rate slowly construct a complicated jigsaw puzzle of a network. Instead, products that are easy to use and integrate into the network are the “secret sauce” to overcoming 95% of the challenges you’ll encounter. It is possible, with the right product, to use one crew and one truck in one day, to connect twice as many homes as a traditional build. Sounds crazy…but true!

OK, so I’ve been told by some providers, “If I use products that are so simple anyone could do it, my splicers would just be sitting around doing nothing.” I’ve got a question for those who feel this way: “Once your build is complete, how long are your customers waiting to be hooked up for service?” Customers have cash in hand and have to wait for their service to be turned up to start paying. What’s wrong with this picture? How many providers are willing to potentially lose 1-2 months’ revenue just because customers have to wait for service? The faster you hook customers to the network, the quicker you start charging them.

Make it fast

The equipment for the plug-and-play network option can cost more up-front than the typical jigsaw puzzle option. However, that equipment cost is offset by a quicker customer turn-up…plus, you’ll get a very impressed and satisfied customer as well. Dismissing products that “just plug-in the network” is like one of my grandpa’s sayings: “Boy, you’re tripping over a dollar to pick up a dime.” I’ve seen customers who embrace the plug-and-play concept deploy their network quickly and efficiently.

As an example, we doubled the number of customer turn-ups planned in a neighborhood fiber build by dramatically speeding the installation of terminals. Pulling only a single cable through duct from terminal to terminal, and using FieldShield® 12-fiber pushable MPOs to cascade YOURx™-Terminals, resulted in only 6 splice points…with 5 guys in 6 hours for 100 single family units (SFUs).

Changes in technology can be intimidating…but if you look at it from a different perspective, we’re not riding horses to the grocery store any more either. You have a new and more efficient way to deploy your network. Still skeptical? Then contact Clearfield, build your fiber SWAT team and prepare to take orders.

By Brian Schrand

An industry veteran with over 20 years of telecommunications industry experience, Brian Schrand is the company’s technical expert responsible for working with Clearfield's customers to help them achieve the most cost-effective deployments of FTTP networks. Previously, Brian was Senior Specialist for Network Engineering, Construction and Operations at Cincinnati Bell Telephone (CBT), one of the largest telephone companies in the U.S. While at CBT, Brian held various management positions, including Outside Plant Construction, Installation, Information Technology (IT) and Outside Plant Staff. Before CBT, he assisted in engineering and constructing the City of Cincinnati’s first fiber network.