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PPC blog

Tom Carpenter

Recent Posts

Pre-terminated fiber cable - a great FTTH installation solution

Posted by Tom Carpenter

 When installing fiber at an MDU (multi-dwelling unit), technicians have a few choices for the type of cable they choose. The most important choice is whether to use field-terminated or pre-terminated cable. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but we find pre-terminated cable is almost always the best choice. In this blog, we’ll discuss the pros and cons for pre-terminated versus field-terminated cable when it comes to cost, installation skills and excess materials.

Topics: Fiber to the home

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6 ways to reduce FTTH implementation costs

Posted by Tom Carpenter

As operators increasingly focus on deploying fiber to the home (FTTH) across their networks, they are looking at how they can minimize deployment costs, and therefore increase their return on investment. From our experience of working with FTTH installations across the globe, we see six ways of reducing FTTH implementation costs, while ensuring high quality, reliable connections. 

1. Eliminating blowing

Traditional fiber backbone networks can stretch for miles and, therefore, require expensive blowing equipment to propel the cable through duct. This type of equipment simply isn’t needed on FTTH last drops. Instead, crews can quickly complete last drop connections by pushing or pulling cables, even around tight corners. For more complex or longer installs, pushing can be aided by simple, cost-effective handheld blowing machines, or pulled through the duct using a pre-attached pull cord. Pushing or pulling reduces equipment costs and install time.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI

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Why the Smart Home needs fiber to the home connectivity

Posted by Tom Carpenter


One of the questions asked about fiber to the home (FTTH) networks is simple – what are the applications that will need the high capacity and speed that they offer? And how can operators increase revenues around FTTH by providing new services that will differentiate them from their competitors?

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed the impact that streaming 4K TV services will have on bandwidth needs. In this post, I want to talk about the rise of Smart Homes and how this will impact the operator.

There’s a lot of talk about the Smart Home (particularly around the Internet of Things) – it was one of the key themes of this year’s FTTH Council Europe conference in Luxembourg, for example. 

So, what is it and why does it matter?

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends

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Nielsen’s Law and what it means for fiber networks

Posted by Tom Carpenter


Most people have heard of Moore’s Law, which broadly states that the number of transistors on a silicon chip will double every two years, with a corresponding increase in computing performance. This has proved true over the 50 plus years' life of the Law, contributing to huge improvements in technology, regarding speed, size, and cost.

A lesser known theory is Nielsen’s Law, which applies similar thinking to network speeds. First quantified by Jakob Nielsen in 1998, it states that the bandwidth available to high-end broadband connections will grow by 50 per cent every year, leading to a 57x compound growth in capacity in a decade. The fact that it still holds true over 15 years later shows the strength of the model.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics, Market trends

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The changing needs of FTTH deployment

Posted by Tom Carpenter

PPC has been producing and selling Miniflex cable and pre-terminated QuikPush fiber to the home (FTTH) drop cable for the last 10 years.

Our vision has always been to remove the inefficiencies of blowing and splicing, to speed up the last drop in FTTH deployments that are carried out by non-fiber specialist installers.

Historically, our focus was on providing our customers with overall cost savings by reducing installation labor time.

However, over the last 36 months we have seen a major change in focus throughout the FTTH global market. We are finding that, while labor time is still important, there is a greater market drive towards enabling non-fiber skilled labor to install the last FTTH drop.  

This trend isn’t just happening in emerging markets where labor is relatively cheap, but not necessarily "fiber skilled", but also across the United States and within Europe.

I thought it would be worthwhile to share my thoughts on why I think we have seen this change in market behavior, and how it marks a major step forward in the importance of FTTH as a technology.

Topics: Fiber to the home

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Reducing friction in fiber microducts to speed blowing deployments

Posted by Tom Carpenter

When it comes to deploying fiber, network planners have the options of blowing, pulling or pushing the cable. Each of these methods has different strengths and weaknesses, as we’ve covered in previous blogs.

Generally, for the last drop pulling or pushing delivers the fastest, most efficient deployment - without needing to spend time setting up expensive and potentially messy blowing machines.

However, as you move towards the network backbone and, consequently, have to cover longer distances, blowing becomes a more feasible option - particularly if you have already invested in the equipment and skills needed to deploy it effectively.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics, Costs/ROI

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Picking the best fiber installation partner: why it starts with an RFP

Posted by Tom Carpenter

When creating a fiber network, even the best laid plans can be upset by deployment issues. While some of these, such as unexpected weather or unforeseen environmental problems can’t be legislated against, many factors can be controlled through good planning, and in particular by providing a clear, well-structured Request for Proposal (RFP).

Consequently, in this article I want to outline the four key steps to writing and issuing a successful RFP,  vital in helping you choose the best fiber installation partner for your project. Get it right and both the network planner and the installer have a strong platform to work to, which makes it easier to cope with any unforeseen problems if they occur.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Design and Install, Costs/ROI, Regulatory/Policy

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Fiber to the Home connections poised to double in Europe

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Earlier in February, I attended the 2015 FTTH Europe conference in Warsaw, where there seemed to be greater optimism around the European fiber market than in previous years. This was backed up by the annual IDATE figures released by the FTTH Council Europe, which showed that the number of FTTH (Fiber to the Home) and FTTB (Fiber to the Building) subscribers had increased by 50% between 2013 and 2014.

In total, this means that there are now 14.5 million FTTH/FTTB subscribers in Europe, with a further 14.8 million in Russia and the Ukraine. Strong progress was seen in countries such as France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Romania, while Germany is poised to enter the rankings, as it approaches 1% of homes subscribing to fiber. Lithuania continues to top the charts, with nearly 35% of households benefiting from fiber broadband, followed by Sweden and Latvia.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics, Market trends

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2014 end of year global fiber report and FTTH predictions for 2015

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Following on from my half year report back in June 2014, I thought it is worthwhile to share my views on what has been happening across the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) market, with a particular focus on last drop connections, as well as looking at what I believe 2015 has in store.

The positive news is that growth appeared to continue throughout the second half of 2014. CRU’s bi-monthly report on the fiber cable market stated that the high level of fiber demand seen at the start of the year remained solid through to the 3rd Quarter of the year. CRU forecast that more than 300 million km of bare fiber will be shipped during the year. For me, this is a staggering quantity – equivalent to the diameter of our planet’s orbit around the Sun or enough fiber to circle the Earth 24,000 times.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics

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Protecting fiber to help answer some of the biggest questions of all

Posted by Tom Carpenter

How did the universe begin? Does it have an end? Answering these questions is the aim of the Subaru Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS), which will be based at the Subaru telescope in Hawaii. Subaru is the Japanese term for the Pleiades star cluster, and the multi-million pound instrument will come into service in 2018. It will rely on PPC products to protect fiber within the Subaru PFS.

Detecting dark matter

The PFS will enable astronomers to study dark matter - the 80% of the mass in the universe that has never been directly detected, helping better understand the future of the cosmos. It will do this by measuring the motion of about one million stars in the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and looking at how they are distributed across a huge area of space. Due to the power of the Subaru telescope and the wavelength coverage of PFS it will allow the first true census of early galaxies, peering back in time and helping answer the question of why we are here.

Topics: vertical markets, Fiber innovations

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