Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

What are the keys for building fiber to the home (FTTH) and fiber to the “x” (FTTx) networks that give customers what they want?

After many years of experience with FTTH/FTTx networks, we’ve got a few tips.

1. Make it fast

Understand that the capabilities of your workforce, your timeline to deliver and your mean time to repair are all factors that should come into play when estimating your total build cost.

Simple and comprehensive products are vital to reducing labor. Having someone who gets a high hourly rate slowly construct a complicated jigsaw puzzle of a network isn’t cost-effective. Instead, products that are easy to use can overcome most of the challenges you’ll encounter.

Plug-and-play products are faster to deploy, resulting in quicker customer turn-ups. Although plug-and-play network elements can cost more up front than the typical “jigsaw puzzle” option, the equipment charge is offset by lower labor costs since labor/construction typically accounts for 70% of the deployment cost. Plus, quicker deployments result in happier customers because they have fewer intrusions and interruptions.

As an example, we doubled the number of customer turn-ups in a neighborhood fiber build by dramatically speeding up installations using Clearfield® plug-and-play products. 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 workers in 6 hours for 100 single family units.

2. Get it passed

Recent Fiber Broadband Association research shows record fiber broadband growth in North America. In the United States, fiber broadband now passes 46.5 million unique homes and connects 20.5 million…a 16% increase in homes passed by fiber since 2018. Canada reached a new milestone in 2019: fiber now passes half of all Canadian homes.

With total fiber deployments at record levels, it’s a great time to build FTTH/FTTx networks.

The window for the next phase of funding for the USDA’s Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program is January 31-March 16, 2020, and the FCC will vote on the continuation of the Connect America Fund, now called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Over $20 billion dollars of funding will be available from these programs over the next 10 years. Perhaps you’ve already completed your feasibility studies, have your network design locked and are preparing the information for funding applications. If not, there’s still time to assess the needs of your service area and begin the process of funding support.

3. Make it last

As the number of fiber deployments grows, so does the need for skilled technicians who’ve received proper training. The limited pool of existing technicians and the steep learning curve for future technicians can’t keep up with the demand of 5G and supporting technologies. Plug-and-play solutions that provide quick and reliable installation of state-of-the-art fiber optic networks help shorten the learning curve and future-proof your network.

As you look for ways to make your FTTH/FTTx deployment successful, keep these 3 tips in mind. If you have any other questions about your fiber project, please reach out to Clearfield. We have tons of experience with FTTH/FTTx installations and are happy to help.