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March 2024

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Get Certified - Direct From FOA
It's Just Economics
Define "Underserved"
More Interesting Workforce Statistics from BLS
3 Generations Of Fiber Techs
Training The Next Generation Of Trainers
FOA Support For STEM Education
All FOA Certification Credentials Are Online
FOA Spanish Curriculum Updated
Links To Resources On Broadband

Newsletter Sections

Click on any link to jump to that section

Creative Design For Remote Fiber Project
Coherent Transmission In Hollow-core Fiber
Fiber Optics Loses A Big Supporter
The Geopolitics of Submarine Cables
Do Shark Bites Cause Fiber Cable Failures?
OFC and BC Summit
Calix Created Online Training For Service Providers

Troubleshooting FTTH
The Preferred Method Of Termination
Another Convenient Fiber Cleaner
Holding Cables For Splicing
Are Aerial Cables REALLY Cheaper?
NECA/FOA 301 Standard WIthdrawn
Installation of FOA Active Equipment
Understanding Fiber Optic Splitters
Information From A Cable Scrap
Managing Projects - Gantt Charts
FOA Color Code Guides
FOA Online Loss Budget Calculator

Worth Reading  Lots of interesting articles

Q&A    Interesting questions from our readers

Types Of Work Done By Fiber Techs
FOA-Approved School News
Fiber U MiniCourses

New FOA Technical Resources


About the FOA

FOA Certified Techs

CFOT Total

2024 At FOA - Heading For 100,000 

FOA certifications headed for 100K

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

See FOA Jobs Web Page and FOA on FOA on LinkedIn
The FOA Jobs
Using your FOA Training/Certification to Find the Right Job in Fiber Optics
Where Are The Jobs In Fiber Optics?

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Trademarks: The FOA logo and name, CFOT® (Certified Fiber Optic Technician) and Fiber U® (the FOA online learning site) are registered trademarks of the FOA.
FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.

 FOA Reference Books
Available Printed or eBooks
The fiber book is available in Spanish and French

FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Premises Cablng book FOA
                          Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics book FOA
                          Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book
FOA Reference
                          Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design book FOA Book
                        on Fiber Optic Testing FOA Fiber Broadband Guide

                            Outside Plant Fiber Optics Construction
                            Guide  Lennie Lightwave

Click on any of the books to learn more.
Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

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Current Issue of FOA Newsletter

Time To Renew Your FOA Certifications?

To keep your FOA certifications active, you need to renew them when they expire every 3 years. Now we have a new more convenient way to renew - an online store at Paypal - where you can quickly and conveniently use your PayPal account or your credit card to renew your certifications.

Renew online with a credit card or PayPal

Join FOA On  Social Media

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has 3 LinkedIn Groups
FOA - official page on LinkedIn - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace
FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics
Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)

Experienced Fiber Techs Can Get Certified - FOA's Direct Certification Program

Certification is a big issue today for many workers. Many projects require certifications, for example the BEAD broadband programs in the US. Employers may require certifications. For everybody, certifications are indications of their competence in their profession. And statistics show certified workers earn more.

FOA has certified almost 100,000 fiber techs with about 130,000 certifications, including CFOTs, CPCTs and CFOS specialist certifications. Of those about 90% have become certified by taking a class from an FOA Approved Training Organization. The other 10% used the FOA Direct Certification Program.

Experienced field techs don't necessarily need a formal class to become certified. The knowledge and skills they have learned working in the field can qualify them to apply to FOA directly, using the FOA Direct Certification Program.

FOA Certifications are based on the FOA KSAs - the knowledge, skills and abilities that our advisors have determined are necessary for competence in the certification's field, starting with basic fiber optics. CFOT's for example are expected to have basic knowledge of fiber optics and skills in cable preparation, splicing, termination and testing. At an FOA Approved Training Organization, those will be the subjects for classroom sessions and hands-on labs to help students develop the appropriate skills.


If you are currently working with fiber optics in any communications or technical field and have at least two years of experience, you may qualify for the FOA Direct Certification Program. Those who qualify can submit an application to the FOA and then begin the certification process.

You must first study for the basic knowledge as required by the FOA KSAs using the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics self-study course. This will take 8-20 hours of online study depending on the background of the applicant. When the Fiber U course is completed, you must take the Fiber U Certificate of Completion test to show you have gained the knowledge to qualify for taking the FOA Direct Certification Online Exam.

When prepared, you are given a link to take the FOA Direct Certification Online Exam. It is an online closed-book monitored exam that takes about 2 hours to complete.

If you get a passing grade on the FOA Direct Certification Online Exam, you will be awarded your FOA CFOT Certification and issued an online credential you can print and share with others.

While we used the FOA CFOT Certification as an example, the CPCT Premises Cabling Certification is available also with the same process steps. After you have a CFOT or CPCT, you may take other FOA specialist certifications.

If you lack the field experience and need certification right now, you should take a class at one of the 200+ FOA Approved Schools Worldwide.

More on the FOA FOA Direct Certification Program.

Don't just take our word for it......

Two CFOTs Talk About The FOA And The Direct Certification Program

Fiber Nerds

Eron Lloyd and Irving Perez are the "Fiber Nerds." In this YouTube video they discuss their experiences becoming FOA CFOTs through OJT and the FOA Direct program. These guys have done their homework; they know the FOA as well as we do! Their discussions on the value of the FOA CFOT to the individual is really instructive. And they note that "Even if you have been in the industry for 5 to 7 years, you are going to learn a lot of things."

Watch the FIber Nerds video about FOA.  

It's Just Economics

We were not surprised when we read an article recently referring to the Federally-funded broadband programs in the US that said "fiber network builders often face ballooning labor and material costs, leading to fears that some projects may become unprofitable."

Large government spending often creates problems and the BEAD broadband program is no exception. The pandemic made it clear that much of the US was suffering from poor Internet connections, leading to a high level of support in the government for providing assistance. $ Billions in fact.

We've already seen what excitement and anticipation of a Federal windfall can do to manufacturing. Promises of $ Billions of government subsidies for broadband led to a short term bubble - materials shortages and long lead times prompting a response of overproduction, not enough customers, layoffs in manufacturing, a mess.

The opening statement indicates that it's time for a lesson in economics.


Economics, of course, is all about money. It works on every level - from your personal budget to the worldwide systems of commerce. It affects the price of your lunch just like ti affects the price countries pay to borrow money to cover deficit spending. Economics includes banking and stock markets. Economics includes factors like supply and demand, inflation, profit and loss, and many more terms we hear used often.

When we took economics in college, the professor defined economics as "the study of the allocation of scarce resources." Those resources can be materials, labor or money. Stocks and bonds. Land. Energy.

Economics involves forecasting - lots of forecasting - which we know from experience is just as much, if not more, unreliable than weather forecasting. Part of the reason is that economics is complicated; it depends heavily on human behavior and we all know how unpredictable that can be.

Manipulation of economics - good or bad - is complicated. Over the last few years, world banks have been trying (with limited success) to reduce inflation, much of it caused by the recent labor and supply chain problems created by the pandemic. Monopolies manipulate economics, usually trying to increase profits by controlling prices or limiting supply and/or competitors. A investor we knew used to say "a little monopoly goes a long way." Sometimes investors try to buy markets by subsidizing low prices to drive competition out of business. Buying market share by pricing at a loss is a common tactic used by high tech investors; a new Rivian electric vehicle actually costs more than twice its selling price.

Economics over the history of fiber optic communications has had more than its share of economic ups and downs, recessions and bubbles. Remember the "Internet Bubble" where investors rushed to build fiber optic networks for the Internet only to have the rush become a bubble that burst in early 2001. It left the fiber optic market reeling - dropping to about 1/3 of the bubble peak - and estimates were that ~90% of all the fiber installed was still dark. It took more than a decade for the industry to recover, but strangely it was unaffected by the housing/banking crisis in 2008.

Economics tends to treat premature excitement and overreaction badly. Big government funding programs create problems for those who don't understand how they work or how slowly they can play (pay) out. The BEAD program for broadband was only announced two years ago, the first real money won't be available for probably another year and it will take about 5 years or more to be paid out. Remember the RDOF program? It's half the size of BEAD, planned for implementation over 10 years, but only about 30% of the funds were claimed.

BEAD funding requires the creation of new "middlemen," state agencies to allocate funds. Adding middlemen costs money, takes time, requires a level of expertise to properly plan and allocate funding and provides another focus for industry lobbyists. The application process is complicated and we have been told it is making it difficult for smaller entities to compete. Plenty of high-priced consultants are ready to help. All that will increase the costs and reduce the efficiency of the actual funding.

Time is the enemy here. With economics, time means uncertainty and inflation. In the US overall consumer inflation is down to about 3%, but what will it be for the components and labor to build fiber optic broadband networks in the future? Companies staffing up or building inventory now who need to borrow operating funds are facing 7-8% interest rates. Those rates are likely to stay high for a while.

Furthermore, the US economy has been cruising along looking great, but there are some signs that may not last. Consumers have been driving the economy but they have been doing it on credit which is at record levels. There are possible signs that consumer spending is slowing. Here is California the activity at the warehouses that supply the online and physical stores is slowing. Tech companies are already laying off workers. What will happen if we finally get the post-pandemic recession that economists have been predicting for several years now?

The future is uncertain.  Are you prepared?

Closing Thought:
Excitement and anticipation are understandable when lots of money is involved, but when it blinds good judgement and ignores the reality of economics, there will be problems.  And a caution to the winners of funding, our investor friend whose comment on monopolies was quoted above had another saying that is relevant to this issue: "More companies die of indigestion than starvation."

How To Define "Underserved"

The terms "underserved" and "unserved" have been used repeatedly in the US government funding of broadband in the US. Sometimes we wonder exactly what they mean. Someone in a rural area with no broadband connection at all is certainly unserved and underserved generally refers to areas where service providers will not invest because the areas are lower income and will not guarantee a return on investment.

One expects that upscale urban areas could not be underserved, but is that true? FOA is based out of Santa Monica, California, unquestionably an upscale urban area. There are multiple cables around us servicing 100G  networks.  However we have two mobile phones on different major service providers and neither has good signal - 1 or 2 bars at most - even though there are 5G small cells less than two blocks from us. Our cell phones depend on WiFi for calling and data.

We received numerous mailers last year offering 5G home service. The service provider took our order, after several tries finally sent us equipment, but it did not work - insufficient signal.

We have just upgraded our CATV Internet service to "1G" because we were experiencing problems with streaming and latency. The new DOCSIS 3.1 service is much better but our monthly cost went from $85 to $125 per month.

How about competition? We recently received a mailer from the local telephone company offering FTTH 1G service for $49/month. We used to have their DSL as a backup, but were paying $60/month for 10-12Mb/s downloads and <1Mb/s uploads so we cancelled it. We signed up online for the new FTTH service and were told it was available. A date for installation was set. When the tech arrived we showed him around the multi-tenant building and he shrugged his shoulders. They could not bring fiber direct to our unit, but might set up in the basement and use our CATV cable with MOCA to the unit, except we would have to install electrical power to the area at our cost. No deal. Then 2 weeks later a tech called to say they could not offer service since there was no drop in the alley behind our building. Strangely, there used to be a drop there but it disappeared when the utility poles were replaced about 2 years ago.

Are we "underserved"?

More Interesting Workplace Statistics

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has released an update on statistics for the US labor force with comprehensive data on numerous categories. It's an interesting report to study. The most interesting category is
NAICS 517 Telecommunications. From the data, we extracted this data on the workers installing telecom cable plants.

BLS data on telecom
Note the telecom workforce has a large deficit of female workers, something we are very aware of and are working to rectify. The statistics on the other categories tells us we need to work harder recruiting them also.

Training The Next Generation Of Trainers

Dave ramsey TTT

Learning fiber optic skills from experienced FOA Certified Instructor Dave Ramsey at Marion Technical College: (front to back) Joshua Doran - South-Western City Schools: Steven Blankley - Delaware Area Career Center; Douglas Faiella II - Columbus City Schools & Eastland-Fairfield Career Center and Aaron Stewart - Tri-River Career Center

The State of Ohio has adopted the FOA CFOT and CPCT programs statewide to create the workforce to support their broadband plans. Ohio has several schools which have been in the FOA network of approved schools for many years, so those schools are helping the new schools joining FOA to get programs started and new instructors trained.

Dave Ramsey at Marion Technical College, an FOA CFOS/I certified instructor since 2008, recently trained 4 new instructors who will be starting programs in other Ohio colleges shortly. The train-the-trainer (TTT) class focused on hands-on skills to help the new instructors conduct their labs. All had previously completed the FOA TTT online program at Fiber U so they were prepared to devote time to learning cable preparation, splicing, termination and testing while working with Dave at Marion Technical College.

FOA programs To Support In STEM Education

STEM teachers resourcesClassroom Resources For STEM Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools

Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For STEM Teachers.

FOA also has a YouTube Video on "Careers in Fiber Optics" and a "Careers In Fiber Optics" Website. See below.

All FOA Certification Credentials Are Now Online

All FOA Certified Fiber Optic Technicians now have their certification credentials online. They receive a personal web page that lists all their certifications, explanations of the certifications and the period of their validity.

With the online certifications, FOA certified techs can review their certifications online, post them on social media platforms and share them with current or potential employers or anyone else. Online credentials are considered the most secure way to provide certifications and are preferred by most employers today. Printed certificates are available too.

Note: if your FOA certification has not expired you should have been notified you have an online credential. If you did not get notification it may be because FOA did not have a valid email for you. Contact FOA to inquire about your certification credential.

New In Spanish - Nuevo en español

FOA Spanish Textbook And Online Guide Updated

FOA Fiber Optic Textbook in Spanish

The FOA Spanish textbook and Online Guide on basic fiber optics has just been updated. The new version includes all the latest updates and is intended for use with FOA CFOT certification classes presented in Spanish. Both paperback and Kindle versions are available. The textbook  and the updated CFOT class curriculum are available now.

Libro de texto en español y guía en línea de FOA actualizados

Se acaba de actualizar el libro de texto en español y la Guía Online de FOA sobre fibra óptica básica. La nueva versión incluye las últimas actualizaciones y está diseñada para usarse con las clases de certificación FOA CFOT presentadas en español. Están disponibles versiones de bolsillo y Kindle. El libro de texto y el plan de estudios actualizado de la clase CFOT ya están disponibles.

FOA Adds Fiber Optic Network Design in Spanish

Design Textnook in Spanish

The FOA Design textbook and course curriculum are available in Spanish also. The FOA CFOS/D curriculum in Spanish includes the necessary materials for an instructor to present the course in Spanish and give thCFOS/D certification exam in Spanish. The material is available to any FOA-approved school. For more infirmation on becoming a FOA approved school, go here.

El libro de texto de FOA Design y el plan de estudios del curso también están disponibles en español. El plan de estudios de FOA CFOS/D en español incluye los materiales necesarios para que un instructor presente el curso en español y dé el examen de certificación CFOS/D en español. El material está disponible para cualquier escuela aprobada por la FOA. Para obtener más confirmación sobre cómo convertirse en una escuela aprobada por la FOA, vaya aquí.

Top articles from The FOA Newsletter in 2023-2024
Fake OTDR Traces Submitted For Testing Documentation  January 2023 Tech  
Using OTDRs To Test Transoceanic Cables And PONs February 2023 
POF - the Other Fiber March 2023 
What Do Employers Expect From A Fiber Optic Tech?  April 2023  
Are Standards Ignoring The OSP? May 2023 
FOA Has Proven Results In Fiber Optic Workforce Development June 2023 
BEAD Funding For States Announced And Analyzed  July 2023  
Wisdom From The Street (Analyzing the printing on a fiber optic cable) July 2023 
Focus On Disasters August 2023  
FOA's Role In Education and Work Done By Fiber Techs  September 2023  
The Workforce: New US DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics Telecom Tech Category  October 2023  
How Many Telecom Techs Do We Need and How Big Is The Fiber Optic Market  November 2023 
Guidelines For Fiber Optic Project Planners December 2023 
2023 Year In Review. Kentucky Shows The Value Of Fiber  January 2024.
What is Broadband? History of the Cable Modem  February 2024 

Guidelines For Fiber Optic Project Planners

Fiber Optic Installation Guidelines

This article from the December FOA  Newsletter is available as a WEB PAGE IN THE FOA GUIDE to read and share with others.

FOA Guide To Fiber Broadband Is A Hit With Broadband Planners

FOA Guide To Fiber BroadbandHow does broadband work? Without fiber optics it would not work; even wireless has a fiber backbone. This book is not the typical FOA technical textbook - it is written for anyone who wants to understand fiber broadband or fiber optics or the Internet. It's also aimed at STEM teachers who want to include communications technology in their classes. This book will try to explain not only how fiber broadband works, but how it was developed. It is intended to be an introduction to communications technology appropriate for a communications course at almost any level (junior high, high school or college,) for managers involved with broadband projects, or for anyone who just wonders how all this stuff works.

The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber Broadband   Paperback ($12.95) and Kindle ($9.95) versions available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version is in color!

New In The FOA Guide - Introduction To Broadband 

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U    FOA Videos Guide.

FOA  has a web page with resources on fiber broadband and the IIJA/BEAD funding programs.

FOA Newsletter Sections

News     Technical    Worth Reading    Q&A    Training/FiberU    Resoures    Safety   About


Lots more news in Worth Reading below

Quote of the month: "When I talk to many contractors in the fiber industry they tell me they don't need splicing training, it gets taught in the field and there's really nothing to it!"  FOA Instructor

Creative Design For Remote Fiber Optic Network

Sometimes it takes creative thinking to install a large fiber optic network, especially in remote areas. Remember the project in Nepal we wrote about in the FOA Newsletter in November 2021 where they ran aerial cables in remote areas using trees? A project in Alaska to connect remote villages is also thinking creatively, running fiber optic cables in the riverbed of the Yukon river for most of its route.

Alaska Fiber Optic Project

The Alaska Fiber Optic Project
In the fall of 2021, Calista Corporation, Doyon Limited, Gana-A 'Yoo Limited, and Alaska Communications submitted grant funding applications to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to install a fiber-optic network to communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers. So far, three of four desired project segments have received funding; the upper Yukon River to Ft. Yukon, from Ft. Yukon to Circle, Venetie, and Chalkyitsik, and the lower Kuskokwim River portions. Completion of the three funded segments will result in connecting 15 Alaska communities. The partners are committed to seeking funding to complete the remaining unfunded segment.

In the project drawings below, the blue segments are in the riverbed of the Yukon River and the green segments are terrestrial cables.

Alaska Fiber Optic Project

(Upper Left) The Upper Yukon River project's fiber line will travel from Fairbanks, flanking the Elliot Highway to the Yukon River Bridge. From the bridge, fiber will be embedded in the channel of the Yukon River upstream to Fort Yukon, and downstream to Tanana. Alaska Communications began the permitting process in January 2023 and plans to complete construction of segment one by the end of 2025 and segment three by the end of 2026.
(Upper Right)  The terrestrial fiber network will begin in Fort Yukon and extend to Venetie and Chalkyitsik. Submarine fiber cable will be placed in the Yukon River to connect Fort Yukon and Circle.
Total Length: 445.6 Miles, Terrestrial Length: 135.0 Miles, Underwater Length: 310.7 Miles

(Lower Right) The Middle Yukon Segment's fiber line is planned to join the Upper Yukon River Segment at Tanana and travel downstream in the Yukon River to Holy Cross. An overland terrestrial fiber line will proceed south to the Kuskokwim River village of Upper Kalskag, joining there with the Lower Kuskokwim Segment connection to Napaskiak. Total Length: 436.4 Miles

(Lower Left) Lower Kuskokwim Segment This project phase will connect communities of the Lower Kuskokwim Segment, and is planned to eventually link the Kuskokwim and the Lower Yukon Segment by means of terrestrial connection from Upper Kalskag to Holy Cross (on the Yukon River). Total Length: 180.3 Miles, Terrestrial Length: 51.3 Miles, Underwater Length: 129.0 Miles

Read more about the Alaska Fiber Optic Project

Coherent Transmission In Hollow Core Fiber Tested In Spain

Hollow Core Fiber

Lyntia Networks, Nokia, OFS/Furukawa Solutions and Digital Realty (Interxion) completed a field trial to implement and demonstrate the potential of hollow core fiber technology.

Within a hollow core fiber, light travels almost 46% faster than in conventional solid-core optical fibers because the light is transmitted in air not glass, resulting in lower latency transmission, according to the group. Also, the reduced interaction between the optical signal and the fiber structure enables higher power to be transmitted.

The group first conducted pilot tests in a laboratory in Paris by optical network experts from Nokia Bell Labs. Nokia also provided the transmission equipment and field and lab testing. According to the companies, the results showed a significant reduction in latency by more than 30% and a considerable decrease in non-linear effects compared to traditional optical fiber.

The pilot tests in Paris, which demonstrated data rates of 800 Gbps and 1.2 Tbps, show that hollow fibers have the potential to break through the non-linear Shannon capacity limit of solid-core fibers. (The :Shannon Limit" is the data equivalent of "the speed of sound" which aviation conquered almost 80 years ago.)

The field trial in Madrid demonstrated a round-trip latency reduction of more than 30% relative to conventional single-mode fiber. This technology will provide connectivity between offices or data centers where low latency is critical for business services. Future developments are expected to improve hollow core links' attenuation ranges and optical capacity.

Read more in Lightwave

Fiber Optics Loses A Big Supporter In Latin America

Jose Enriquez

The fiber optic community will miss Jose (Pépe) Erinquez, publisher of Todo Fibra Optica who passed away suddenly this month. Two of our instructors were close associates of Pépe and sent us their thoughts.

Jerry Morla, FiberWizards
With great sadness, we inform our colleagues and friends that on February 12, we lost José (Pépe) Enriquez, a friend of the FOA and a rising star in the fiber optic industry. Though based in Mexico and mainly operating across Latin America, Pépe relentlessly worked to materialize the vision of connecting people around the world with fiber optics, and in many ways, achieved this vision by bringing together people from many countries and continents in virtual events and education through his online platform We offer sincere condolences to his family and loved ones, as we carry on with the vision of connecting people with fiber optics.

Con gran tristeza, informamos a nuestros colegas y amigos que el 12 de febrero perdimos a José (Pépe) Enríquez, un amigo de la FOA y una estrella en ascenso en la industria de la fibra óptica. Aunque con base en México y operando principalmente en América Latina, Pépe trabajó incansablemente para materializar la visión de conectar a las personas de todo el mundo con la fibra óptica, y de muchas maneras logró realizar esta visión al reunir a personas de muchos países y continentes en eventos virtuales y educación a través de su plataforma en línea Ofrecemos nuestro sincero pésame a su familia y seres queridos, mientras continuamos con la visión de conectar a las personas con la fibra óptica.

Gilberto Guitarte
He parted on February 12, 2024 while spearheading a stellar trail of accomplishments : José Manuel “Pepe” Enriquez Mora  founder and CEO of, a digital magazine that linked the fiber optic knowldege brains across the Americas with emphasis on Latin America developments, education and applications, and of course in a close partnership with the FOA. His next project was to be his dream of all times: linking all Latin America with a highway of glass, or the “Panamerican Fiber Optic Link” starting In Mexico and spreading “south” all the way to the straight of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego. A great technician and a great human being at core, “Pepe” will be missed by family, friends and the fiber comunity in general.

Se despidió el 12 de febrero de 2024 mientras encabezaba una estela de logros: José Manuel “Pepe” Enriquez Mora, fundador y director ejecutivo de, una revista digital que vinculó a los cerebros del conocimiento de la fibra óptica en las Américas con énfasis en los desarrollos de América Latina. educación y aplicaciones, y por supuesto en una estrecha colaboración con la FOA. Su siguiente proyecto iba a ser su sueño de todos los tiempos: unir toda América Latina con una autopista de vidrio, o el “Enlace Panamericano de Fibra Óptica” que comenzaría en México y se extendería “por el sur” hasta llegar al Estrecho de Magallanes y Tierra del Fuego. Un gran técnico y sobre todo un gran ser humano, “Pepe” será extrañado por familiares, amigos y la comunidad de fibra en general.

The Geopolitics of Submarine Cables

Most of the time when we mention submarine cables, it is because some new cables are being installed or some new technology has been introduced. But this video from ABC News, and Australian public broadcasting network takes a different viewpoint, the geopolitics of undersea communications networks.

Geopolitics of Submarine Cables

It's called "The Cloud Under The Sea" and it's described this way: "Lurking under the sea is a global web of fibre optic telecommunication cables, the plumbing of the internet. It's how we talk, text and stream, connecting billions of people. These cables are also the frontline of a tech war."

Telegeography's  Research Director Alan Mauldin is well-versed he is in submarine cable geopolitics and in cable knowledge in general. Alan shares his expertise throughout this submarine cable documentary, The Cloud Under the Sea, which, according to Telegeography  “uncovers the shadowy world of telecommunication sea cables.”

From the video we learned some interesting statistics: that there are about 500 undersea cables, only 4 undersea cable manufacturers, about 60 cable laying ships and they are kept busy laying new cables and repairing current ones, which happens about every 3 days. And these cables carry communications representing about $10 TRILLION each day in commerce. They are indeed important!

If you are interested in the impact of worldwide communications and the geopolitics involved, including spying and sabotage, you will find this 58 minute video highly interesting and entertaining.

Watch it on the Telegeography website

OFC 2024

The 2024 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition will be held in San Diego on March 24-28, 2024. OFC's comprehensive educational programming features more than 120 invited speakers and 9 panels that the latest and future technology and applications in fiber optics. The panels provide an interactive learning environment and are open to all conference registrants.

Learn more about OFC.

Broadband Communities Logo
Broadband Communities Summit 2024 is an event for those interested in delivering connectivity for communities in the US. This year’s event will bring together 1500 senior-level attendees from the US broadband sector, municipalities, property owners and government. May 6th – 8th 2024 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, Texas

Learn more about the
Broadband Communities Summit   

FOA Curriculum For Schools Adds Fiber Optic Network Design in Spanish

Design Textnook in Spanish

FOA is an international organization so we have expanded our website, textbooks and training curriculum to other languages, with Spanish being the most popular. We have recently translated the curriculum for CFOS/D Fiber Optic Network Design into Spanish for our schools in Spain and the Latin and South American countries. We also have schools teaching in Spanish in the US as you can read below.

  The FOA Design textbook is available in Spanish also.

The FOA CFOS/D curriculum in Spanish includes the necessary materials for an instructor to present the course in Spanish and give the cfoS/D certification exam in Spanish. The material is available to any FOA-approved school. For more infirmation on becoming a FOA approved school, go here.

Quote Of The Month:

(several months ago actually, but this is worth repeating)

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference, AT&T’s CEO John Stankey said, “There’s a fallacy to say there’s fixed networks and wireless networks. There are only fiber networks with different access technologies on the end of them. That’s where this is all going.”

Fierce Wireless  

Infrastructure Resources Is Now "Excavation Safety Alliance" - Join Now

Infrastructure Resources has changed its name to Excavation Safety Alliance (ESA) to better reflect their role in the industry. ESA believes that a focus on safe excavation education initiatives helps prevent damage to buried facilities. Focusing on safe excavation spotlights the importance of safety for the people doing the digging, and helping keep people safe is the top priority of both damage prevention and safe excavation efforts.


Join The Excavation Safety Alliance

The are now over 1,500 individual members of the Excavation Safety Alliance. The individual memberships are FREE because we want everyone to have a voice and the ability to get the valuable education.  Individual membership is free; corporate membership is $2000.. For more information, go here.


ESA sponsors the annual Global Excavation Safety Conference which will be held in New Orleans in 2024.

Excavation Safety Show 2024

Global Excavation Safety Conference will be held in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, from March 19-21, 2024. This is an opportunity for damage prevention & excavation safety professionals from all over the world to come together and learn, network, and share their knowledge and expertise in this vitally important field.

More info on Global ESC 2024


Fiber optic technology, standards, equipment, installation, etc.

The FOA Update Page covers the new technology and applications we covered in this newsletter recently. Now you can review all that new tech at once.


Cross Reference To FOA Technical Reference Materials

The FOA has almost 1,000 pages of technical information on the FOA Guide, 100+ videos and two dozen online courses at Fiber U, all this can make it difficult to find the right information.

Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
To help this, we have created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.
Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Videos
We have also rearranged the 100+ FOA videos in similar categories on the Contents Page of the Online Guide, making the videos, especially the lectures, much it much easier to find a video on a particular topic. 
FOA Videos Guide.

Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on Fiber U®

Sponsored Content

OptConn LogoOptConn is a value-add re-seller of optical connectivity products, services and solutions. With over 30 years of experience in the fiber optics industry we are here to serve your requirements from fiber optic training with FOA certification to products, materials and supplies.

We have partnerships with industry leading manufacturers to support your installation, splicing and testing needs. Our goal is to guide, support and recognized our client’s requirements.

Learn more about OptConn  

Troubleshooting FTTH

FOA contributor Vladimir Grozdanovic has created another technical paper on FTTH PON based on his field experiences. This one is about a very inmportant topic, Troubleshooting PON Installations.


What's The Preferred Method Of Termination?

During a webinar last year, the TIA Fiber Optic Technology Consortium did a survey about fiber optic termination. The answer showed one type of termination was highly preferred - fusion splice-on connectors. And why not? They are economical, easy to install, high performance and highly reliable.

termination preference 2024

Another Convenient Fiber Cleaner

Last August in the FOA Newsletter. we feeatured a interesting gadget designed to clean optical fibers for splicing without mess or having to touch cleaners the Optix QuickClean. Here is another idea that solves the same problem, the WOWA Wipe-Clip. In Germany, an inventive splicer created and patented his own cleaning tool to  eliminate fluid contact, purpose built for single and ribbon fiber cleaning. He calls it the WOWA Wipe-Clip and it’s available in Europe, the US and Canada.

WOWA Wireclip

You can see how it works here. It has a stand with a built-in bottle to dispense cleaning fluid and a clip that holds lint-free cleaning wipes. It's available worldwide - chekc the manufacturer for your location or see NWS in the US and Canada.

Solution For Holding Cables For Splicing

Holding multiple cables in place when splicing can be a problem, especially with larger fiber count cables or large bundles of drop cables. FiberNext has a solution - FASCLAMP - that mounts to the splice table or truck tailgate and secures multiple cables without damaging them. It comes in two sizes, FASCLAMP and FASCLAMP XL.


Get more information from FiberNext.

Is Aerial Installation Really Easier And Cheaper?

We watched these techs overlashing a cable in Santa Monica recently. Unfortunately for them, they were adding another cable to a bundle of other cables that includes as many as 10 cables along the street where they were working, For installers, this bundle has many obstacles - many poorly installed cables drooping from improper lashing, many splice closures, drop cables, and snowshoes from service loops left by earlier installers.

We watched these techs for almost half an hour and they did not get 50 feet (~15m) of cable installed. Trees growing around the cable meant the lasher could not be pulled from the ground so it was manually moved by the tech in the bucket. In the lower photo you can see how he was pushing tree limbs aside to clear the lasher (arrow on the right) and then had to work his way around a snowshoe on the left.


Makes you wonder about the wisdom of "one touch make ready," doesn't it?

NECA/FOA 301 fiber optic installation standard withdrawn

NECA/FOA                        301 Fiber Optic Installation StandardThe NECA/FOA 301 fiber optic installation standard has been withdrawn. It's almost a quarter century old and a decade since the last update. It has been decided the standard needs to be replaced with a more modern document covering current technology and written in a format that allows easier updating.

In the meantime, there is lots of useful information in the standard and you can still download a free copy from FOA.

Download your free copy of
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 here (PDF)

Installation of FTTH active equipment

In this paper, engineer Vladimir Grozdanovic explains the different types of equipment and how they are installed to create an operating PON.

Read Installation of FTTH Active Equipment in the FOA Guide.

Understanding Fiber Optic Splitters

FOA contributor Vladimir Grozdanovic has created another technical paper on FTTH PON components, this time optical splitters. 

Read Optical Splitters in the FOA Guide.

Recycling Fiber Optic Cables?  Contact LD4 Recycle  

Learning Important Information From A Found Cable Scrap

While walking down the street near the FOA office, we found this cable laying in the gutter. What a find! A short length of Corning Rocket Ribbon 864 fiber cable left over from an installation by a contractor.

Corning RR Cable

We brought the cable back to our office with the intention of opening it up and creating a video about the construction of this modern high fiber count cable, but something got our attention first. The cable had a very long line of printing on it with lots of interesting and useful information. So before we started deconstructing it, we decided to photograph the printed information and interpret it. That turned out to be an important part of the information we learned from the cable. Then, as you will see below, we dissected the cable and learned even more.

Red more about what this cable marking tells you and what the cable looks like when you open it up to prepare for splicing.

Problems With Old Cables And New High Fiber Count Cables?

A FOA CFOT reported that they have been doing fiber characterization testing on cable plants that include both old and new fibers, a common result from building out from a legacy cable plant. One surprising result was that some relatively short links are showing CD and PMD problems even when only short segments of the cable plant are older fibers. PMD has become an issue as speeds increase but earlier fibers we not optimized to prevent PMD. This is just another reason to do fiber characterization before trying to upgrade network speeds. (There is more information on Fiber Characterization in the FOA Guide and a fiber characterization course on Fiber U.

We're also hearing rumors that the new high fiber cables are getting fibers broken during installation with the possible cause(s) being exceeding bend radius or pulling tension, using improper installation equipment or maybe even the cable designs. We're investigating this and will report back in the near future. But please ensure installers follow manufacturer's recommendations carefully. Check out the information on cable specs in the article in this issue and the article on Bending Diameter in the FOA Guide.

Managing Fiber Optic Projects - The Gantt Chart

(With An Excel File To Make Your Own)

The most common way to track projects is the Gantt Chart, a chart of activities that tracks the progress of projects along a timeline. each activity is represented by a bar and the position and length of the bar represents the starting date and duration of the activity. This allows you to see what activities are needed for the project, when the activities start and end so it can be used to track the progress of the project visually. Here is what a Gantt Chart for a fiber project might look like:

Fiber Optic Gantt ChartYou might remember an article in the FOA Newsletter in April 2022 or the FOA Guide page on Project Management about the timing of a fiber optic project where we showed the progression of steps in a project like this:

The Gantt Chart above is simply this list converted to a Gantt Chart using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. You can download a copy of the FOA Gantt Chart spreadsheet (xlsx file - 16kB) and use it to create your own Gantt Chart for any project. All you have to do is to input your own data and change the activity names as necessary. You can also follow the directions from Microsoft to create your own version.

More Help On Color Codes (Including Copper Cabling And Fiber Optics)

The FOA has created a print-your-own pocket guide to fiber optic color codes. It has color codes for fibers and buffer tubes, connectors and premises cables inside and on the back, QR codes to take you directly to the FOA Guide and Fiber U. The FOA Guide page on Fiber Optic Color Codes is one of the most read pages on the FOA website and the Fiber Optic Color Codes minicourse on Fiber U very popular also.

Color codes U-print  FOA Color Code Card  color code card UTP

Here's a do-it-yourself FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Color Codes card. Just download the PDF file, print it on a color printer and fold it up as shown. Then you have your own pocket guide to color codes. Make a bunch for your co-workers too.

color codesThen we realized that many of your also do structured cabling work, so it was a natural to add a Color Code Guide for UTP copper cabling in printable (below) and electronic (above) versions.

But we did not stop there. We know how many of you use your mobile devices on the job, so we created a version of the Color Code Guide you could download and use on your smartphone or tablet. It's a PDF file, so you just download it and save it on your device and it will be with you always.

Here are the links to download your own FOA Guides to Fiber Optic Color Codes
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to Fiber Optic Color Codes (electronic version for your smartphone, tablet or PC) PDF  

And For UTP Cabling

FOA Guide to UTP Cabling Color Codes (print your own version) PDF  
FOA Guide to UTP Copper Cabling Color Codes (electronic version) PDF

Warning For Techs Doing OSP Restoration

WarningFOA received an inquiry about whether techs working on restoring OSP links should be concerned about eye safety if the link used fiber amplifiers. To answer this question, we had to do some research on fiber amplifiers. The short answer is YES, you should be concerned. The long answer is more technical and includes details that every OSP tech needs to know.

See "Fiber Amps And Restoration" in the FOA Newsletter Archives..

Try The FOA's Online Loss Budget CalculatorFOA                        Loss Budget Calculator

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We've created a online Loss Budget Calculator that does the work for you. Just input your cable plant data and it calculates the loss budget. It works on any device, especially smartphones and tablets for field use and even allows printing the results.

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online


Worth Reading

Each month we read hundreds of newsletters and online articles. These are the ones we think you will find "worth reading."

FOA  has a web page with resources on fiber broadband networks and the IIJA/BEAD funding programs.

Cross Reference Guide to FOA Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optic History  and the new FOA video "The History Of Fiber Optics"

Fiber or copper?  AT&T PR photo from the mid 1970s

The FOA's History

Top Stories From The Past FOA Newsletters

Worth Reading (And Watching):

February 2024

The Jan/Feb Issue of ISE Magazine is online. Includes a review of the telecom year and Is it Time to Update Your Gear for the New Year?

The State of the Network in 2024 from Telegeography.

Las Vegas residents will soon have a new option for internet service: Google Fiber from KTNV TV Las Vegas

Network resiliency for an open networking future from Infinera (the topic is network backups and restoration.

January 2024

Pre-Excavation Safety Checklist (PDF) - Excavation Safety Alliance - essential steps before breaking ground for underground construction.

Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Job Skills And Training Opportunities Working Group - FCC Report on broadband workforce notes FOA programs at schools and Fiber U but predates the new Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics job category "Telecommunications Technician."

BLS has other pages related to telecom like the one below which is packed with interesting data:

Bureau of Labor Statistics - Industries in the Telecommunications subsector group - establishments that provide telecommunications and the services related to that activity (e.g., telephony, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP); cable and satellite television distribution services; Internet access; telecommunications reselling services).

December 2023 

Wanted: New Collar Workers - NY Times

How Many More Fiber Techs Do We Really Need?  - ISE Magazine

Fiber Across The Suez Canal Using AFL SkyWrap  -- AFL

Broadband Monopolies Drive Modern Day Redlining - ILSR "Internet Ultra" in Los Angeles County is $30/month in affluent neighborhood and $70/month in neighboring lower income neighborhood. Read more.

November 2023

The Importance of ANSI/SCTE Load Ratings In Underground Enclosure Selection  IMSA via Oldcastle Infrastructure. Did you know there are load ratings for underground structures like manholes and handholes?

Hoopa Valley Tribe and State of California Embark on Historic Collaboration ILSR For the first time, a Tribe in California is building high-speed Internet infrastructure in collaboration with the state

Optical LAN Advances Smart Building Internet of Things’ Scalability, Security and Sustainability APOLAN

ESA The Winter 2023 issue of ESA magazine  

From Past FOA Newsletters

Fiber vs Wireless - Are You Kidding?  ISE Magazine 
Of course we need both!

Developing a Fiber Workforce Really Does Take A Village - ISE magazine looks at the role of manufacturers' training in developing the fiber workforce.

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023  -  You can also buy copies - Telegeography

Telegeography Submarine Cable Map 2023

serves the business needs of the Broadband industry (including traditional cable TV, fiber, telecom and satellite providers) with employment listings, classified ads, discussion forums, and more. A contractor told us it's where they find lots of opportunities for subcontracting.

Do You Believe In Magic? Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  ISE Magazine.

The Secret to Future Proofing,  ISE Magazine

The 45 Year Old Overnight Sensation ISE Magazine
(Read the complete Nov/Dec issue of ISE Magazine here.

ESRI has created an ebook on GIS location technology for telecom. Use the link to download the book.

The First Transcontinental Telephone Line  began operation on  July 29th in 1915 - 3400 miles between New York and San Francisco - required over 100,000 telephone poles! Wonders of World Engineering

Conocimiento Esencial: ¿Por qué la fibra óptica?  creado por FiberWizards 

Recruiting And Training Today's Fiber Optic Workforce - Learn the fundamentals to recruit and train new fiber optics -ISE Magazine.

Google Video On Their Undersea Cables YouTube Slick but interesting video on how undersea cables are designed, built and used.

Construction Without Disruption ISE Magazine

Fiber Optics Installed By The Lowest Bidder  - ISE Magazine

Building Broadband During Component and Worker Shortages - Broadband Communities - Completing broadband builds requires competent fiber optic techs, but training them requires understanding how they learn.

Worth Reading - Magazines, Websites and Newsletters

CABL® ( serves the business needs of the Broadband industry (including traditional cable TV, fiber, telecom and satellite providers) with employment listings, classified ads, discussion forums, and more. A contractor told us it's where they find lots of opportunities for subcontracting.

New Fiber Optic Magazine In Spanish

See News above. We do not know about the fate of Todo Fibra Optica following the passing of Jose.

Todo Fibra Optica is a new digital magazine in Spanish for fiber optics in Latin America and South America. Jose Enriquez, editor of  Todo Fibra Optic magazine has many years experience in the fiber optic industry so he knows the industry well. FOA will be working with him to share our extensive technical materials in Spanish.

magazine Read their newsletter here. It is now available online in English and Spanish.

All issues and subscriptions.

José Manuel Enriquez Mora, Editor
Todo Fibra Optica LLC
+52 222 302 8224

RTI Telecom Magazine from  Brazil, in Portuguese
. A revista RTI do mês de abril já está disponível online e recomendo a leitura de alguns artigos: 

1995-2020 - FOA's 25th Anniversary!

As part of celebrating 25 years of serving the fiber optic industry as its primary source of technical information and independent certifying body, FOA thought it appropriate to create a short history of the organization and how it has developed  to help the fiber optic industry. We also wanted to recognize the contributions many people have made to the organization over the years that made FOA what it is today.

The FOA history is now archived on the FOA website where you can read it anytime or link to it.
Updated info - dB, total internal reflection and science projects,

Worth Reading - News Summary & History - More Past Links Worth Repeating

1983 Video of AT&T's First Test Of A Submarine Cable System From the AT&T Tech Channel archives (worth exploring!)

Richard Epworth's Optical Fiber History from his work at STL from 1966 with Charles Kao.

Communications Systems Grounding Rules: Article 800 provides specific requirements  by Michael Johnston,  NECA Executive Director of Standards and Safety in EC Magazine

US Broadband Coverage By Service Provider from the FCC

How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History

In the August 2021 FOA Newsletter, we published a lengthy article on rural broadband and compared it to rural electrification in America in the last century. Much of the comparison was based on an article written in 1940 by a USDA economist, Robert Beall, called "Rural Electrification." 

If you are interested in or involved in rural broadband, we recommend you read the article "How To Build Rural Broadband, Learning From History" in the August 2021 FOA Newsletter and read the Beall article also.

Recycling Fiber Optic Cable -
Steve Maginnis
LD4Recycle/ CommuniCom Recycling
(Visit website)

Sumitomo's Ribbon Splicing Guide - download from one of the leaders in splicing.

"Who Lost Lucent?: The Decline of America's Telecom Equipment Industry"
This is a MUST READ for managers in telecom or any industry!

This long and well-researched and annotated article in American Affairs Journal should be mandatory reading for every high level manager in a telecom company - or any other company for that matter. To summarize the article, today, America has no major telecom equipment company and fears the major suppliers of equipment who are all foreign, especially the Huawei from China. This article explains how America got into this deplorable state.

OFS also has an excellent website and blog of tech articles worth browsing.

IEC 60050 - International Electrotechnical Vocabulary - An extensive dictionary for fiber optics in English and French. Highly technical - this is one definition: "mode - one solution of Maxwell's equations, representing an electromagnetic field in a certain space domain and belonging to a family of independent solutions defined by specified boundary conditions"

If you are interested in restoration - aren't we all? - you should also read this article in dpPro magazine by FOA President Jim Hayes: Damage Protection Requires Looking Overhead As Well As Underground - dpPRO Magazine - about the problems with aerial cables. His previous article for the magazine was New Techniques for Fiber Optic Installation.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance weekly newsletter has lots of interesting articles and links.

Universal access to broadband is a cornerstone to a strong economy, Achieving universal access will require community partnerships. by
Alfreda B. Norman, Sr. VP,  Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

FIBER TO THE FARM: The co-ops that electrified Depression-era farms are now building rural internet. Be sure to check out the high-tech equine installation equipment.

Next Century Cities Newsletter - News from cities around the US including Detroit and New York plus small

Infrastructure Get Some Respect, NY TImes "On Tech"   "The magic of the internet requires a lot of very boring stuff behind the scenes. "

DIRT Report On Damage To Utilities Common Ground Alliance (CGA) annual DIRT report provides a summary and analysis of the events submitted into CGA’s Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) for the year 2018. The complete report is available for download here. In addition, there is an interactive dashboard that allows users to filter the data more  by factors contributing to damages.

Structured Cabling News - a website and weekly newsletter about cabling.

Fiber Trivia From Corning.

The Future Of Work Is Skills - So Stop Worrying About Degrees - The reality is the future of work is about skills, not just degrees. (FOA Newsletter Feb 2020)

The job market is hot. So why are half of U.S. grads missing out?  

VIAVI Books On Fiber Optic Testing (2 volumes) - They're back!

books  book 2

Besides the FOA reference materials, two JDSU/VIAVI textbooks, Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing, Volumes 1 and 2,  were used as references for some of the FOA courses and are recommended for instructors and students. The books are available from VIAVI as eBooks and the everyone should download them and recommend them to others.Download yours now. Volume 1. Volume 2. Viavi Books

Ciena's Submarine Cable Handbooks (4 to download)

Guidebook To MPO Testing OptoTest offers this complete guide to MTP®/MPO testing. In this guide, you will learn all there is to know about the different test methods, equipment options, troubleshooting, and best maintenance practices to ensure that you have the best testing experience. Go here to download the book.

50th Anniversary of The Development of Low Loss Fibers
A history of the development of low loss fiber, a fascinating story by Jeff Hecht on the OSA (Optical Society of America) website.

How OFS Makes Fiber

Interesting YouTube video on how fiber is made. Perhaps a little too much "show biz" but fascinating. If you have ever seen fiber manufacture, look at this video. You will be amazed at how big preforms have become!

The True Cost of Telco Damages (what backhoe fade or target practice can cost)

Rural Electric Cooperatives: Pole Attachment Policies and Issues, June 2019.

Clearfield-FOA Certification Training Clearfield is now offering their customers an FOA CERTIFICATION course. This course provides a basic understanding of fiber optic technology, as well as Clearfield product knowledge and how Clearfield’s integrated product systems work together in a fiber network.

Substandard Contractors - Fiber Optic Knowledge Doesn't Always Trickle Down  (EC Mag)


When readers ask us questions, we genrally refer them to FOA resources where they can find the answer to their question and many more. We first send them to the FOA Guide which is the table of contents for the FOA technical resources. There they can find pages indexed by topic and a search engine for the FOA website. It also links them to FOA videos and courses on our free online learning site Fiber U.

The FOA Fiber FAQs Page (FAQs = frequently asked questions) gathers up questions readers have asked us (which first ran in this newsletter) and adds tech topics of general interest.

Good Question!

Tech Questions/Comments From FOA Newsletter Readers 

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  

Mating Mismatched Connectors
Q: I have a question during OTDR Testing... The interface port of the OTDR is SC-APC so i have also a launch cable with SC-APC connectors, end to end. the fiber cable plant that i need to test has a patch panel connector of LC-UPC.. can i use a hybrid adapter to connect my launch cable to the patch panel? if this is allowed, what will be the formula for calculating the connector loss.. note: the adapter has an insertion loss of <0.3dB
A: You need to use a hybrid adapter cable with a LC/UPC connector on one end to connect to the cable plant under test and a connector to connect to your usual launch cable - and that cable needs to be longer than the dead zone of the OTDR so the connection to the cable plant can be separated and not affected by the connection on the other end to your normal launch cable. Alternatively, you can have a hybrid launch cable with SC/APC on the OTDR end and LC/UPC on the cable plant end.
You cannot use a hybrid mating adapter. The angled SC/APC connector cannot be mated to a UPC connector. Anyway th ehybrid SCLC mating adapters are not a good idea becasue of the difference in the diameter of the ferrules.

A client is requesting a certification according to ISO/IEC 11801, ISO/IEC 14763-3, TIA- 526.7-A, TIA-568.3-D, ANSI/TIA 568 C.3 or later.
I own a single-mode OTDR and a power meter with a Microscope. If I take measurements with all three units and calculate the maximum allowable drop according to length and given connectors or splicing to give results on a pass or fail will be adequate or we have to measure with an OLTS?
There is a task force in TIA TR42.11 trying to rationalize these standards. Today most standards require testing with a light source and power meter (LSPM) or optical loss test set (OLTS) which are the same thing as the accepted method for testing an installed cable plant. Several international standards now allow OTDR testing for acceptance, but not in any TIA or US standards. So one should assume OTDR tests are not acceptable, only OLTS testing.

FTTH Network Loss
What are the causes of high loss in FTTH
The loss can be connections, including dirty connections, bad splices, damaged cables, even a bad splitter. Have you tested with a high resolution OTDR?

GIS Programs
Have you done any reviews on OSP fiber route-structure mapping systems and the associated GIS, or do you have opinions on the best ones/combinations (Esri, 3GIS, Bentley, Graphical Networks, Vetro, etc.)? Or can you point me somewhere to go read, search doesn't come up with a lot of details.
Among the most established ones here in US are ArcGIS, IQGeo, 3-GIS, Vetro and OZmap. All seem to have proponents but we do not have much practical experience except one of the FOA Tech Advisors uses OZ map.

Older Questions:

Fiber Loss Budget
For a fibre of total distance of 160km, what should be the standard total loss per kilometre?
A: The typical loss for SM fiber is ~0.35-0.4 dB/km at 1310 nm or ~0.15-0.2 dB/km at 1550. We assume a system like this will be using 1550 nm. You can use the FOA online Loss budget Calculator to estimate the total link loss

Reuse Of Cable Being Removed From Service
Is there ever a feasible reuse for used/older fiber optic cable? Would some one be in the market for the FOC that is removed from service? Lets say 20year old aerial cable ADSS?
We have been asked that question a lot. It often involves cheap fiber on eBay or from surplus dealers. With the advances in fiber technology and manufacturing, 20 or even 10-year old fiber is essentially obsolete. Lots of service providers are replacing that fiber with today’s higher performance fibers because networks are going from the ~2 gigabit speeds then to terabit speeds today. We would never recommend reusing fiber removed from service. You have no knowledge of how it was installed originally and environmental conditions can be hard on some types of cables. Besides, the cost of the cable is only 5-15% of the project cost. Most of the cost is in the labor of installation so the savings would be minimal and the risk high.
We have been telling people who have leftover cable from projects to offer it to FOA schools. They are always in need of OSP cables.

Minimizing Latency
Q:  L
atency a term that is widely used today. If we manage to make the light travel without interruption we will achieve that the speed is perfect, but the equipment (router, OLT, firewall, etc) generates a processing that takes some time, do you think that LATENCY 0 will be achieved?
The work on achieving minimal latency has been gong on for decades, primarily driven by the computerized stock traders who rely on microsecond trading. One recent project used an experimental fiber with a hollow core becasue light travels 50% faster in the air than glass. Most low latency networks try to use the longest fiber links possible using submarine cable technology because the electronic switching takes too much time. But most electronics require digital signal processing in the transceivers which takes time, switches to the trading computers takes time and while you can minimize it all, it can never reach “0”.


Q: What is microtrenching?
A:  Microtrenching is a technique for installing underground fiber. It is done by sawing a groove in the road or sidewalk and dropping a small (~1/2 inch or 13mm) plastic tube (duct)  into the groove and filling it up with material like the surface so it almost disappears. The cable is “blown” into the duct with high pressure air - actually the air floats the cable in the duct to reduce friction and the cable is pushed into the duct.
Here are photos of a microtrenching installation in Toronto.  Here is the explanation of microtrenching in the FOA Guide section on OSP Construction (about 3/4 down the page.)
We don’t think any of our schools teach this in the US but Triple Play does in South Africa.
In the US we recommend going to one of the companies that makes the construction equipment, primarily Ditch Witch.

Previous Questions

Degraded Underground Fiber Optic Cable
Q: How can you handle a degraded buried underground fiber link, which has degraded due to multiple joints introduced during maintenance?
A: If it has reached a point where the loss or dispersion limits its use, it probably should be replaced.

Maintaining Fusion Splicers
Q: What are the best practices for the preventative maintenance of splicers, cleavers, and thermal strippers.
A: Because of the large number of manufacturers and variety of models and applications, The FOA generally tells people to follow the manufacturer’s directions for use and be especially careful about keeping the splicer unit, cleaver and stripping tools clean, then having it serviced regularly by the manufacturer or an authorized service facility.

Rural FTTH
Q: What does A Rural FTTH Connection Cost?
A: That's a very complicated question, because "rural" has a lot of meanings. Is it a small town where building a FTTH Network is easy or remote users in Alaska? An interesting set of data was made available this month from the US Department of Agriculture, announcing $700 million in grants and loans in the 4th round of the ReConnect Program

Splicing Dissimilar FIbers
Q: Recently I came across a new problem while splicing optical fiber cable.  Splicing of 2 Fujikura fibers was done but loss was observed. Initially, we felt that it is due to splicing but upon resplicing the loss was still the same i.e. 0.3db at the splice point. Both the cables were checked again and observed that both cables were from different manufacturers. My question is that if different manufacturer's cables are spliced, will it give loss? Note: Both fibers were Fujikura but had different IOR.
A: The difference in IOR tells the reason. The loss at the joint between the two fibers when measured by an OTDR depends on the optical characteristics of the fibers. A difference in the fibers IOR and backscatter coefficient will cause the loss measurement to be affected. In one direction it measures too high, in the other direction too low or even shows a gain. That’s why some measwurements are called gainers. If you measure it in the opposite direction you should see low loss or a gain. It’s explained here in the OTDR page on the FOA Guide in the section “OTDR Measurement Uncertainty.”

Testing FTTH Networks
I work on FTTH projects that utilize 1x32 and 1x64 splitters that do not have any active light on the fibers. Is there a mobile source that can be used in the field to simulate active light through splitters and still provide enough power to travel 20km?
A: Any 1310/1490/1550 test source should have adequate power to test them with a regular power meter. A 64 port splitter has only 18dB+any excess loss- so 20dB or so - and any power meter can measure that with a ~0dBm to -6dBm source.
More on testing FTTH Networks 

OTDR Dead Zone
Q: What is dead zone when using OTDR?
A: The "dead zone" is the length of fiber near the OTDR that is blanked out by the overload from the test pules. See this page on OTDRs in the FOA Online Guide:

Using A Visual fault lOcator
What are the best practices for using a VFL to locate fiber faults?
See in the FOA Online Guide

Fiber Splicing Cost
What is the standard of costing for fiber splicing and terminations? Is it per core / per splice or per each cable end irrespective of the number of cores?
That is a very hard question to answer, other than to say ”it depends. ” The number of fibers is definitely a factor because each fiber must be stripped, cleaned, cleaved and spliced then placed in the splice tray.
It also depends on:
  • Single fiber or ribbon splicing?
  • Type of splice closure
  • Type of cable (loose tube, ribbon, flexible ribbon, high density, armored, ADSS, etc.)
  • Installation: aerial or underground
  • Location: urban or rural
  • Set up time (same for low fiber count cable as high fiber count cable)
Most contracts will be considering the number of fibers but also these factors, and probably they want to price by the number of fibers, but the price per splice will vary accordingly. We've seen quotes in the US for prices varying over a 10X range.

FTTH Network Design Course
I would like some advice on how to develop a responsive curriculum involving FTTH network design.
FOA has lots of free resources you can use. Fiber U offers free online courses in FTTH and Fiber Optic Network Design that can be used to develop your courses using blended learning - online and classroom work blended. The courses cover all aspects of these topics and include lesson quizzes. The Design course includes a dozen case studies ideal for student assignment, including one on FTTH. You can also begin with other courses like Basic FIber Optics and Outside Plant Fiber Optics and Outside Plant Construction. The Fiber U courses draw on material in the FOA Online Guide where you will find many other pages of useful information.
Teaching a course on FTTH and FTTH Network Design is easy using this material. The Design labs don’t require equipment; just use the case studies we provide and develop more of your own.

Markers Required For Underground Fiber Optic Cables?
Q: Are signs required for underground cables like fiber optic cables? Are they required to have signage so people don’t dig them up or damage them?
A: In the US the answer is NO. There is no Federal or State law which requires marking anything other than hazardous liquids and gases. It is purely a business decision or a moral decision to invest in signs/markers to protect buried fiber. If a fiber gets cut it can disrupt 911 service and all kinds of vital communication related to hospitals, air traffic control, etc.

Fiber Optic Color Codes Reference Chart
Q: Has anyone made a fiber optic pocket reference chart that has cable color orders, frequencies, or other commonly used info on it?
A: The FOA has a page on its Online Guide that covers color codes ( It is the most popular page in the FOA Guide! It works great with a smartphone.

More Q&A in the FOA FAQs Page  



The word on the "Dig Once" program is getting out - FOA is getting calls from cities asking us for information and advice. Here are some links:

The DoT page on the administration’s Executive Order:

And the one to download and hand out:
A “How To” Guide from The Global Connect Initiative:

Is There A Standard For Fiber Optic Installation?

Note: NECA/FOA 301 has been withdrawn. It's almost a quarter century old and a decade since the last update. It has been decided the standard needs to be replaced with a more modern document covering current technology and written in a format that allows easier updating.

In the meantime, there is lots of useful information in the standard and you can still download a free copy from FOA.

A question we get often is "Is there a standard for fiber optic installation." The answer is yes, but not from the usual standards groups you might expect. Over 20 years ago, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) asked FOA to help create a standard for installation. That standard, ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 has been updated three times already and is about ready for another update.

Unlike most of those groups who charge you a fortune for standards, FOA covers the cost so
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 is available free from FOA.

                        301 Fiber Optic Installation Standard

Download your free copy of
ANSI/NECA/FOA-301 here (PDF)

Older questions are now available here.

/ FiberU

News and resources to help you learn more and stay updated.

Learn about the fiber optic/ broadband workforce 

Find a listing of all the FOA-Approved schools here.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.
Free online training at Fiber U

The FOA has >100 videos on videos 

The Types of Work Done By Fiber Techs And How It Affects Training

FOA install banner

 What is a fiber optic technician? What kinds of work do they do? Those topics were the center of FOA discussions with the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics that led to the new job category of "Telecommunications Technician" on the BLS website. The focus of this job category is primarily the installation and operation of the fiber optic cable plant, but one should not forget the cable plant must be designed also as part of a more extensive communications network.

In our discussion with the BLS analysts, we pointed out the various stages of a fiber optic communications network project and how techs with various knowledge and skill sets are needed and involved in every step. Here is how FOA defines these stages of a project and the skills of the techs. This is not unique to FOA; it's what has been traditional at telecom companies forever.

Planning and Design: Once needs for a communications network is established, project managers will be responsible for all the details of the project while experienced fiber techs trained and experienced in fiber optic network design (CFOS/D) will design the cable plant itself. (FOA Guide - Design)

Construction: Aerial cable plants may require installing new poles or doing make-ready on existing poles and messengers. Underground construction requires trenching and installation of ducts. In many cases the actual construction is done by general construction workers, as the construction work in many cases is not unique to fiber optics. Heavy machinery is required for much of the construction work and training is focused on safety as well as operating the machinery. (FOA Guide - Construction)

Fiber Optic Cable Installers: Once the route is prepared, the fiber optic cable can be installed. Aerial cable installation depends on the type of cable. Regular OSP cable, figure 8 cable and ADSS cable requires special hardware and installation techniques so the techs must understand the process appropriate for each cable. (FOA Guide - Installation)

Splicers: Since the beginning, fiber techs have been called "splicers" because that was the original job unique to fiber optics. Construction and cable installation was not very different from earlier copper cables, but splicing was very different. Even today, fiber techs are often called splicers and splicing is a core skill for any fiber tech whether they are joining cables or terminating them. (FOA Guide - Splicing)

Testers: After the fiber optic cable is installed and spliced, it must be tested. Testing goes together with splicing since every splice will be tested, often as soon as it is made so if it needs redoing, it should be done before the splice closure is sealed. (FOA Guide - Testing)

Network Operators: Once the cable plant is built and the communications equipment installed, it needs techs who know how to operate the comms but may only know how to connect new gear or change connections on current gear. These techs should also know how to troubleshoot systems in an outage and either do the restoration themselves or call a tech who can. (FOA Guide - Operation)

These categories merely define the stages of installation of a fiber optic project. Of course there are subsets of these categories and most fiber techs are expected to have skills and jobs that cross into multiple groups, as FOA has defined in the KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) for a CFOT.

What an individual worker does differs according to their job. An independent fiber contractor may cover every job except operation and a FTTH subscriber installation tech may only understand installing cables, testing and connecting equipment within the scope of FTTH systems. A construction company may handle the trenching and even pole setting as well as parts of the traditional fiber work.

The FOA defined its role early on to focus on educating and certifying techs in the fiber specific skills: cable installation, splicing, testing and restoration. FOA would like to see more schools get into the construction phase, especially for newer techniques like microtrenching and blowing cable, but these require large outdoor areas for training and large investments in equipment. Most techs who learn these processes now do it with OJT - on-the-job-training - and hopefully get OSHA training for safety.

FOA School News

 FOA's roster of approved schools is growing as more organizations recognize our expertise in workforce development and our comprehensive support for getting new schools started. FOA has over 25 years experience and nearly 100,000 certified fiber techs (with ~130,000 certifications). As a non-profit organization founded by the industry specifically to develop a competent workforce, FOA provides the consultation, curriculum and contacts to get schools started as a free service to new schools.

Complete listing of FOA Approved Training Organizations 

Need A Fiber Optic Course Onsite? Invite an FOA School To Come To You

FOA often gets inquiries from an organization that has personnel that needs training in fiber optics. Recent inquiries have included contractors, a manufacturer of high-reliability products using fiber optics and a cable manufacturer. In many cases, where there are several people needing training, FOA can recommend a FOA Approved School and Certified Instructor who will come to their location to teach a class. The advantage  is of course the savings in travel costs if the class comes to you, but it also offers the opportunity to customize the course to fit your needs, even use your equipment or work on your components, so the training is more relevant to those taking the class.

Contact FOA to discuss the idea of a custom, on-site class to see if it will better meet your needs.

Fiber U On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program

The FOA Fiber U OJT program for novices combines online study at Fiber U with OJT with mentoring by experienced co-workers and their supervisor to help new employees develop into experienced FOA-certified technicians. 

The FOA Fiber U “OJT-To-Cert” program  includes both fiber optics and premises cabling (copper, fiber & wireless), so it covers techs working in both outside plant and premises jobs. 

Like other FOA programs, the OJT-To-Cert program is free. If you and/or your company is interested in the FOA OJT-To-Cert program, contact FOA.

To explain how OJT works and FOA's OJT-To-Cert program, FOA created a short video: Lecture 62: On The Job Training For Fiber Optics Using Fiber U     

FOA Direct Certification Program For Experienced Fiber Optic Techs

Experience Plus Online Study At Fiber U = FOA Certification

Experienced fiber optic technicians can become FOA Certified using their experience in fiber optics and study for the FOA certification exams online at Fiber U. Thousands of industry professionals have applied to the FOA directly for certification without the need for classroom training, based on their knowledge and skills developed working the field. Since FOA certifications are based on KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities), current techs can show the skills and abilities required through their field experience. FOA provides free online self-study courses at Fiber U for the knowledge part to prepare you for FOA certification exams which you can also take online.

If you are an experienced field tech interested in certification, and FOA is the internationally recognized certifying body for fiber optics, you can find out more about the FOA Direct Certification Program here.

If you are already a CFOT, FOA also offers many specialist certifications you can obtain based on your experience as a field tech. See what's available at
Fiber U.

Fiber U "Basic Fiber Optics" Online Self-Study Course Now In Spanish

El curso de autoaprendizaje en línea "Fibra óptica básica" de Fiber U ahora en español

El sitio de aprendizaje en línea de FOA, Fiber U, tiene más de dos docenas de cursos de autoaprendizaje gratuitos sobre fibra óptica y cableado de instalaciones. Como era de esperar, el tema más popular es el curso "Fibra óptica básica", que se utiliza para iniciarse en la fibra óptica y como curso de preparación para realizar el examen de certificación FOA CFOT.

Ahora el curso básico de fibra óptica está disponible en español, utilizando el libro de texto FOA en español, la sección de la Guía en línea en español y la capacidad de YouTube para traducir subtítulos de video al español. El curso funciona exactamente como la versión en inglés con 10 lecciones, cada una con cuestionarios y una opción para tomar un examen de Certificado de finalización.

Para presentar el nuevo curso de español Fiber U, el examen Certificate of Completion es gratuito, así que dígaselo a sus contactos.

Curso Básico de Fibra Óptica de Fibra U en español.

New Fiber U Course: Fiber Characterization 

FOA has added a new course at Fiber U on Fiber Characterization. Fiber characterization is the process for testing long fiber cable plants for its ability for carrying high speed communications. With so many networks now operating at 100, 200, 400 or even 800 Gb/s, fiber characterization is important, especially on older fiber optic cable plants.The free Fiber U Fiber Characterization course is available in two forms, as a standalone Fiber U fiber Characterization Course with its own Fiber U Certificate of Completion and as a separate Lesson in the Fiber U Fiber Optic Testing course. This course is recommended for those studying for the FOA CFOS/FC Fiber Characterization certification.

Fiber U MiniCourses: Got An Hour Or Less? Learn Something New About Fiber Optics.

FOA has introduced a new type of Fiber U course, the MiniCourse, a free online course you could take in a short time, perhaps as you ate lunch at your desk or took a coffee break. The topics of these courses should explain what they are about, and these are all very important topics to fiber optic techs.

New Fiber U MiniCourse - Fiber Optic Jargon
There is a new MiniCourse at Fiber U - Fiber Optic Jargon. Jargon is the most important thing you need to learn when you learn about a new technology. This short Fiber U MiniCourse is intended to introduce you to fiber optic jargon and make learning about fiber much easier. It's aimed at novices but is a good refresher for even experienced techs.

Fiber Optics In Communications  

Fiber Optic Jargon

How Optical Fiber Works 

Fiber Optic Network Restoration 

Fiber Optic Connector Identification

Fiber U Color Codes 

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Fiber Optic Cable Bend Radius

Fiber Optic Link Loss And Power Budgets

Fiber Optic Connector Inspection And Cleaning

Fiber Optic Media Conversion  

Fiber Optic Cable Midspan Access  

Reading An OTDR Trace  

Reference Cables For Testing

Fiber Optic Attenuators

The courses have two components, video lectures and readings, that are complementary. As usual there is a self-test to allow you to check your comprehension. As with other Fiber U courses if you desire, you can take a short test for a Fiber U Certificate of Completion that costs
only $10.

All these free courses and many more are available at Fiber U.

What Fiber Techs Don't Know -

What We Learn From FOA Certification Tests

As FOA moves more testing over to our digital online testing system at ClassMarker, we have access to more data about our testing, including what questions and topics on the tests are answered incorrectly most often. Having this data gives us an opportunity to evaluate the questions and how they are stated, but more importantly it allow us to help our instructors teach the subjects and us to change our curriculum and online courses to emphasize these particular topics. These are some of the topics that we have noticed are answered incorrectly more often in FOA and Fiber U tests.

Most of the questions missed are on testing.

1. OTDRs - particularly what information is in the OTDR trace.

2. The difference between dB and dBm

3. Loss budgets - both the concepts and doing the math

4. Insertion loss testing - single-ended or double ended for testing patchcords or cable plants, how to set 0dB references

5. Units of measure - fiber is measured in microns, wavelengths in nanometers, etc.

At FOA, we're working to add Fiber U MiniCourses on these topics and working with our schools to emphasize these topics in their classes.

If you are going to be taking a FOA certification course or test in the near future, these topics should be on your final exam study list.

What We Learn From Hands On Labs
We learn about students performance in hands-on labs from the feedback of our instructors and our own experiences too. One big problem is the use of hand tools. Growing up today, you learn how to use keyboards, mouses and touch screens, but decades ago, you also learned how to use basic hand tools. This is big enough of a problem that we're considering adding some video lessons on basic hand tools to prepare students for cable prep, termination and splicing that require the use of hand tools.

FOA offers free online self-study programs at Fiber U. Many users are preparing for FOA certification programs - taking courses at our schools or using the Direct Certification program. Some of our schools are requiring Fiber U programs as prerequisites for their classroom courses so they can spend more time on hands-on activities.

/ Resources


Cross Reference To FOA Tech Materials
FOA has so much technical reference material, we created a cross reference guide to the textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U courses, all the FOA technical information. Besides the textbooks, online Guide and Fiber U, each section of the Guide also includes links to the 100+ FOA videos available.

Cross Reference Guide to Textbooks, Online Guide and Fiber U

FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development

To help those new to fiber optic workforce development, FOA has created a web page we call  "Fiber Optic Workforce Development."  In this page, we share what we have learned about the fiber optic workforce, who they are and how they learn their trade. We discuss what defines a fiber optic tech and how they should be certified.

Read the FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Workforce Development online.

Latest FOA Book: Fiber Broadband (Paperback and Kindle)

FOA Guide To Fiber BroadbandIn less than half a century, fiber optics has revolutionized communications and to a large extent, society in general. Broadband, what many today call high speed Internet access, has become a necessity for everyone, not a luxury. The technology that makes broadband possible is fiber optics, connecting the continents, cities, and just about everybody. Even fiber to the home (FTTH) brings broadband to hundreds of millions worldwide.

How did we get from an era when communications was making a telephone call or sending a telegram to today’s world where every piece of information – and misinformation – is available at the click of a mouse or touch on a screen? How did we get from a time when a phone was connected on copper wires to being able to connect practically anywhere on a handheld device with more computing power than was available to scientists and engineers only decades ago?

How does broadband work? Without fiber optics it would not work.

This book is not the typical FOA technical textbook - it is written for anyone who wants to understand fiber broadband or fiber optics or the Internet. It's also aimed at STEM teachers who want to include communications technology in their classes. This book will try to explain not only how fiber broadband works, but how it was developed. It is intended to be an introduction to communications technology appropriate for a communications course at almost any level (junior high, high school or college,) for managers involved with broadband projects, or for anyone who just wonders how all this stuff works.

The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber Broadband  

Paperback ($12.95) and Kindle ($9.95) versions available from Amazon or most booksellers. Kindle version is in color!

More Translations of FOA Textbooks

Guia de Referência sobre Fibra Óptica da FOAFOA is a very international organization and it works hard to accommodate the language needs of everyone. We have been translating our books and website into the languages most requested, and this month, we add two more textbook translations. We also want to thank Jerry Morla, FOA CFOS/I instructor and Director who has been doing the recent translations into Spanish, his native language.

Here is a listing of all the FOA textbook Translations

Spanish Editions:

Guía de Referencia de la Asociación de Fibra Óptica (FOA) Sobre Fibra Óptica: Guía de estudio para la certificación de la FOA  Amazon
La Referencia de Cableado para Predios de la FOA: Guía para Certificación de la FOA   Amazon
La Asociación de Fibra Óptica Manual de Fibra Hasta el Hogar : Para Planificadores, Gestores, Diseñadores, Instaladores y Operadores De FTTH  Amazon
Guía de Referencia de la FOA sobre Diseño de la red de fibra óptica: Guía de Estudio para la Certificación de la FOA Amazon

And the FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics:
French Edition: Le Guide de référence de la FOA pour la fibre optique et et guide d'étude pour la certification FOA: Guide d'étude pour la certification FOA  Amazon
Portuguese Edition: Guia de Referência sobre Fibra Óptica da FOA : Guia de Estudo para a Certificação da FOA  Amazon

The subject matter of these books is also translated in the FOA Guide online.

Planning A Fiber Optic Project?

The FOA Guide To Fiber Optic Projects includes this timeline and comments on project planning and implementation.

More New FOA Video Lectures On YouTube

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages? Here are directions.

FOA Lecture 73, The History of Fiber Optics - A Timeline fiber optics from the beginning.

FOA YouTube Video Describes On-The-Job Training (OJT) 

FOA Lecture 67 Fiber Optics At Electrical Utilities  

More New Videos Including FTTH Series

Like all our YouTube lectures, they are all short and easy to understand.

Did you know YouTube will close caption videos in many languages?

Sign in with Google to get translations for closed captioning. Click on the settings icon (red arrow.) Choose "Subtitles".  English is the default language. Click on the arrow after "English (auto-generated) >". In the new window click on "Auto-translate" and choose the language you want. 

FOA Loss Budget Calculator On A Web Page 5/2020

FOA has written many articles about loss budgets, something everyone involved in fiber optics needs to know and needs to know how to calculate. We recently discovered how to get a spreadsheet ported to a Web page, so we created this web page that calculates loss budgets. We have an iOS loss budget app, but with this web page, you can calculate loss budgets from any device, smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer that has web browsing capability.

FOA Loss Budget Calculator 

Bookmark this page (especially on your smartphone): FOA Loss Budget Calculator Online

                      Guide We are continually updating the Online Reference Guide to keep up with changes in the industry and adding lots of new pages of technical information. When you go to the FOA Guide Table of Contents to see the latest updates - look for New.

Recent updates:

FTTH Updates: Added a section on FTTH Network Design, updated Architecture and PONs (10G)
Color Codes For Fiber Optics   Includes print your own pocket guide and versions for your smartphone.

Fiber Optic Projects - the FOA Guide to projects from concept to operation

Coherent Communications Systems in the FOA Guide.

Go to  The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

FOA Reference Books

FOA FTTH                          Handbook

FOA's FTTH Handbook:
We've gathered all our information on FTTH from the FOA Guide and past issues of the FOA Newsletter and edited it into a 112 page "FTTH Handbook." We even added a section on planning and managing FTTH Projects.
The Fiber Optic Association Fiber To The Home Handbook is available from Amazon in print and Kindle editions.

FTTH Handbook in Spanish

Sitio web y manual de FTTH ahora en español

Sitio web y manual de FTTH ahora en español - FTTH Website And Handbook Now In Spanish

El Manual FOA FTTH se ha convertido en el libro FOA más vendido y tiene una calificación de 4.7/5 por parte de los compradores en Amazon.

FOA ha notado mucho interés en FTTH en otras áreas del mundo, especialmente en América Central y del Sur, por lo que tradujimos el sitio web de FTTH y el Manual de FTTH al español.

Available in paperback from Amazon or ebook on Amazon Kindle.
Disponible como libro de tapa blanda en Amazon o como libro electrónico en Amazon Kindle.  
El sitio web de FOA FTTH ahora en español.  

El Manual FOA FTTH se ha convertido en el libro FOA más vendido y tiene una calificación de 4.7/5 por parte de los compradores en Amazon.

FOA ha notado mucho interés en FTTH en otras áreas del mundo, especialmente en América Central y del Sur, por lo que tradujimos el sitio web de FTTH y el Manual de FTTH al español.

Disponible como libro de tapa blanda en Amazon o como libro electrónico en Amazon Kindle.  

El sitio web de FOA FTTH ahora en español.  

FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics book FOA
                        text in Spanish FOA Text in French FOA Reference Guide to Premises Cablng
                          book  FOA Reference Guide to OSP Fiber Optics
                          book   FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Design book FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics Testing
                        book  FOA
                        Reference Guide to Fiber Optic OSP Construction
Fiber Optics (4 languages), Premises Cabling, OSP fiber and construction, Network Design, Testing and FTTH

   The FOA has it's own reference books for everyone working in fiber optics - contractors, installers and end users as well as for use as textbooks in classes at educational institutions. They are available as printed books or Kindle at much lower prices than most textbooks since we self-publish and sell online, cutting out the middlemen. Click on the book images for more information. The Reference Guide To Fiber Optics is also available in Spanish, French and Portuguese. The Design book is available in English and Spanish.

Click on any book for more information about it.

FOA has reprinted

Lennie Lightwave
Lennie Lightwave's Guide" on its 25th anniversary in a special print edition.
Lennie and Uncle Ted's Guides are online or as free iBooks on iTunes.
                        Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics   Uncle
                        Ted's Guide to Premises Cablling
Click on any of the books to learn more.

Fiber Optic Safety Poster to download and print

Resources For Teachers In K-12 And Technical Schools
Teachers in all grades can introduce their students to fiber optic technology with some simple demonstrations. FOA has created a page for STEM or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teachers with materials appropriate to their classes. Fiber Optic Resources For Teachers.



On Safety

The FOA is concerned about safety!
FOA considers safety an integral part of all our programs, curriculum materials and technical materials. We start all our textbooks and their online versions with a section on safety in the first chapter, like this: Before we get started - Safety First!
There are pages on the FOA Guide on Safety procedures Including Eye Safety  and. Digging Safely 

And a YouTube lecture: FOA Lecture 2: Safety When Working With Fiber Optics
In our OSP Construction Section, these pages cover many safety issues including those related to the construction of the cable plant: Project Preparation And Guidelines, Underground Cable Construction, Underground Cable Installation and Aerial Cable Installation.
There is even a safety poster for the fiber activities: PDF Safety Rules For Fiber Optics
Other Safety Resources:

There is a toll-free "call before you dig" number in the USA: Dial 811. See for more information in the US. Here is their map of resources by states.

In Canada, it's "Click Before You" They also have a page of resources by US states and Canadian provinces.

The Common Ground Alliance has an excellent "Best Practices Guide" online

The US Department of Transportation has a website called "National Pipeline Mapping System" that allows one to search for buried pipelines.   

Why We Warn You To Be Careful About Fiber Shards

fiber in
Photo courtesy  Brian Brandstetter,  Mississauga Training Consultantcy

FOA Corporate Program - Products & Services

Search for products and services offered by hundreds of fiber optic companies worldwide.

List of corporate information  on the FOA website.

FOA Corporate Program is available to companies involved in fiber optics as manufacturers, contractors, installers, etc.  Read more.


About The FOA

Contact Us: or email <>

FOA on LinkedIn

FOA has a company page and four LinkedIn Groups

FOA - official company page on LinkedIn
FOA - covers FOA, technology and jobs in the fiber optic marketplace

FOA Fiber Optic Training - open to all, covers fiber optic technology and training topics

Grupo de La Asociación de Fibra Óptica FOA (Español)  

What is The FOA? 

The FOA is a, international non-profit educational association chartered to promote professionalism in fiber optics through education, certification and standards. 

Founded in 1995 by a dozen prominent fiber optics trainers and  leaders from education, 
industry and government as a professional society for fiber optics and a source of independent certification, the FOA has grown to now being involved in numerous activities to educate the world about fiber optics and certify the workers who design, build and operate the world's fiber optic networks.

Read More  

FOA History  

FOA Timeline of Fiber Optics  

Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc. or email <> or email <>
Telephone/text: 760-451-3655

The FOA Home Page

FOA Guide
Want to know more about fiber optics? Study for FOA certifications? Free Self-Study Programs are on "Fiber U®." Looking for specific information? Here's the largest technical reference on the web: The FOA Online Fiber Optic Reference Guide.

Free online self-study programs on many fiber optics and cabling topics are available at Fiber U, FOA's online web-based training website.


Contact Us
The Fiber Optic Association Inc.
The FOA Home Page

Fiber Optic Timeline  

(C)1999-2023, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.

 FOA Logo Merchandise

New FOA Swag! Shirts, Caps, Stickers, Cups, etc.
FOA T Shirt
The FOA has created a store on offering lots of new logo merchandise. It has lots of versions of shirts and other merchandise with "FOA," "Fiber U," "Lennie Lightwave" designs and more so you should find something just for you! See FOA on Zazzle.

Your Name, CFOT® - It pays to advertise!

The FOA encourages CFOTs to use the logo on their business cards, letterhead, truck or van, etc. and provides logo files for that purpose. But we are also asked about how to use the CFOT or CFOS certifications. Easy, you can refer to yourself as "Your Name, CFOT" or "Your Name, CFOS/T" for example.

Feel free to use the logo and designations to promote your achievements and professionalism!

Contact FOA at to get logos in file format for your use.

Privacy Policy (for the EU GDPR): The FOA does not use cookies or any other web tricks to gather information on visitors to our website, nor do we allow commercial advertising. Our website hosts may gather traffic statistics for the visitors to our website and our online testing service, ClassMarker, maintains statistics of test results. We do not release or misuse any information on any of our members except we will confirm FOA certifications and Fiber U certificates of completion when requested by appropriate persons such as employers or personnel services.
Read the complete FOA Privacy Policy here.