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Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb Technician Requirements


Training The FTTx Technicians Needed By The Industry

Technology or finances are no longer the primary detriments to FTTx deployment. Finding sufficient personnel trained and certified to install FTTx networks has become a gating item as thousands of FTTx projects come online. Unlike large projects such as long distance or metro networks that keep a small crew busy for weeks, FTTx involves relatively short projects that can keep numerous crews busy working in a small geographic area such as a neighborhood or subdivision.

The Fiber Optic Association,Inc. (FOA), the nonprofit professional association and international certifying body of fiber optics, first became aware of this problem in late 2005. First some of our schools approached us for recommendations on teaching FTTx. FTTx installer/contractors came to the FOA asking for help in finding techs capable of doing FTTx installs. Next we received calls from service providers, Verizon particularly, as they were just starting FiOS, looking for appropriately trained techs. Working with all these parties, the FOA developed the CFOS/H certification for FTTx techs.

With hundreds of FOA-approved schools around the world certifying thousands of Certified Fiber Optic Technicians each year, we were an obvious source of capable technicians. As we talked to these companies, we realized that we could greatly improve their efficiency by creating standards for teaching techs in the FTTX specialty and a FTTx certification. The FOA created curriculum for our schools as the basis of their training for the FOA FTTx certification program.

Making Training and Certification Meet Industry Needs

The diversity of installations of FTTH/FTTP/FTTC makes developing training materials more complex. FTTx involves some different skills from traditional OSP installations, depending on the installation methods chosen. Rather than try to cover all the fiber optics associated with FTTx installations (cables, terminations, installation, testing, etc.) as a single program, we made the FTTx certification cover only topics specific to FTTx, including marketing issues (why are we doing FTTx now?), technology, network architecture, design and installation.

All FTTH techs should have the FOA first level fiber optic certification, CFOT, as a prerequisite. The program could then be used to train not only techs, but also non-technical personnel, such as customer service representatives who need to understand FTTx in more depth to deal with today's tech-savvy homebuilders and consumers!

One thing we know for certain is that the FOA CFOSH FTTx certification program will have to evolve as the industry develops various FTTX solutions - and it has.

Recommended FTTx Training

The FOA course outline covers recommended training for personnel on Fiber To The Home/Premises/Curb (called FTTx). The course can be used to either train installation technicians already familiar with fiber optic installation (and FOA CFOT certified) or can be structured to train other personnel in various support roles, including network design.

We recommend all techs start with the FOA free self-study course at Fiber U, FTTx Online Self-Study Course (free).  This course covers the basic material in the FOA CFOS/H certification course and is excellent preparation for taking an in-person course.   For not expecting to do actual installation work but need knowledge of FTTx to contract for, design, manage or support FTTx networks, there is no prerequisite for the training, although a basic knowledge of fiber optics is expected to be able to understand the technology.

For technician certification: CFOT certification (understanding of basic fiber optics, components, installation practice, testing), the Fiber U FTTx self-study course is recommended before taking an in-person course at an FOA approved school.


Students should learn:

Course Outline

Hands-On Skills

FOA Training & Certification
To learn more about FOA training and certification for FTTH, here are some links:
Fiber U FTTx Online Self-Study Course (free) 
FOA Certification Overview
FOA FTTx Certification Requirements
FOA-Approved Training Programs

Technical Information on FTTX  from the FOA Online Reference Guide:

FTTH Introduction 
FTTH Architectures
FTTH PON Standards and Protocols 
FTTH Network Design  
FTTH in MDUs (Multiple Dwelling Units) 
FTTH Installation 
FTTH Customer Premises Installation 
Testing FTTH Networks  
FTTH Case Studies: Do-It-Yourself FTTH  
FOA Online Guide Table of Contents  

FOA OSP Textbook
FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics, Appendix B

FOA Online Guide Table of Contents  
Return to The FOA Home Page

For More Information, Contact The FOA:
Office Hours 10AM-5 PM Pacific Time
Telephone: 760-451-3655
Fax: 781-207-2421

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