Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

As network builders pass more and more homes with fiber each year, it’s become abundantly clear the impact that properly trained technicians have on the industry. However, the number of available trained technicians has seen a steady decrease, leading to an industry-wide labor shortage (according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute). See also the tables from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics below:

Here are three ways to help service providers meet the demand for fiber broadband despite the decrease in available skilled labor.

1.  Utilize New Methods of Fiber Deployment

One of the simplest ways to overcome the lack of skilled labor is to utilize new, innovative fiber deployment methods. This is where Clearfield’s unique FastPass methodology comes into play. Using this approach, we offer in-cassette splicing and spooling technology, allowing operators to reap the benefits of labor and cost savings. Such innovations provide fiber delivery products that require less skill and time to deploy in the field, such as Clearfield’s craft-friendly Clearview® Cassette or the FieldShield® Deploy Reel.

Our Deploy Reel, for example, minimizes pre-engineering because there is no need to specify the exact length of cable needed, instead allowing the operator to pull cable directly to the access point. Labor lite technology like this has made it possible to overcome recent labor shortages, minimizing labor costs, and reducing operational and maintenance costs.

2. Take Advantage of Training Programs

The majority of fiber-related service calls stem from a lack of technician training before network installation or in some cases, failure to follow the supplier’s recommendations. When fiber is installed correctly, it saves more money and time down the line to fix versus doing it right the first time.                                         

Clearfield offers multiple training programs to enhance learning and develop skills of fiber industry technicians, including Clearfield College, Clearfield’s Certified Partnership Training Program (CPTP), and FOA Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) training. Each of these programs is designed to close skill gaps and improve the technical capabilities essential to create real value for fiber installations.

3. Don’t Forget to Inspect

Inspection of connector ends is essential to maintaining a clear fiber signal upon first installation. Fiber technicians who lack proper training may forget or even not know to inspect the end faces for contaminants before mating. Even the smallest of dirt particles can interfere with a clear signal and cause unnecessary service calls and unhappy customers.

Keeping the fiber connectors clean before mating into the adapter is of critical importance, allowing the fiber to meet the increasing demands for network speed and reliability. Without this precaution, dirty fiber connectors can cause signal loss and connectivity issues.

With the recent influx of federal funding and increased opportunity for network builders, it’s in every carrier’s best interest to overcome the lack of skilled labor that is prevalent in the industry today. By keeping these three smart tips in mind, you can reduce costs and labor needs for every fiber installation.

As you look for ways to circumvent the fiber industry labor shortage, we invite you to reach out to Clearfield. Our training programs and labor lite technology are the obvious answers to fixing these problems and we’re always happy to help.