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PPC blog

2015 and key trends in the US fiber market

Posted by Larry Malone

In a previous blog post, my colleague, Tom Carpenter gave his views on the global Fiber to the Home (FTTH) market, and discussed the ongoing "net neutrality" debate.

In this post, I’m going to delve down a level and look at the trends that the m2fx US team is seeing in the FTTH broadband market and beyond, as 2015 unfolds. Putting net neutrality aside, there are three areas I’d pinpoint:

1. Fiber to the Building (or Premise) continues to grow

The market demand for fiber broadband is there, and carriers are looking at how they can address it most cost-effectively. Consumers and businesses are keen to embrace faster speeds – Akamai’s recent State of the Internet report found that the US had an average connection speed of 11.5 Mbps, behind the likes of Finland, Switzerland and South Korea.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends

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5 additional steps to reducing FTTX roll out costs

Posted by Joe Byrne

Last year, I published a blog post on the steps you can take to reduce FTTX roll out costs, aiming to help spread best practice amongst the fiber community. I invited feedback and suggestions from those in the field on other important steps that might also reduce implementation costs. In this post, I consider some of the points that people kindly shared with me – thanks again to everyone for their comments.

To recap, the 5 steps outlined in my original post were:

  1. Take time and research your options. Learn from your peers and ensure you are up to date with the latest thinking and best practice.
  2. Develop a solid plan for people, equipment and finance.
  3. Ensure you run a well thought out procurement process.
  4. Validate your plan with back-to-back trials of different deployment options.
  5. Have strength in your convictions and follow through.

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

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Successfully installing fiber in complex outside plant environments

Posted by Richard Wragg

We live in a world that relies on real-time information, and fiber optic networks are critical to transmitting this data at the speed of light. This is as true in industrial and outside plant environments as in Fiber to the Home (FTTH) deployments. Installing fiber networks in industrial settings is extremely complex, with challenges around space, limited potential routes and a need to protect fragile fiber against dust, dirt, damage and vibration.

Fiber for railroad signaling

The perfect example of this is a recent fiber deployment we worked on with a major US railway operator. It was within one of their largest yards, where fiber for signaling systems was being completely replaced. This was a mission-critical communications system for the railroad – without it the yard simply couldn’t operate, with a dramatic impact on the company’s entire operations. In such a tough environment, fiber has to cope with vibration from passing trains, changing climatic conditions and accidental damage from employees and equipment.

Topics: Design and Install, vertical markets

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Closing the loop – factors in choosing the right fiber closure

Posted by Dave Stockton

Closures are the housings which contain and protect the individual joints in any fiber system, as opposed to fiber joining (fusion splicing, connectorization and mechanical splicing), which are covered in this separate blog. Given how fragile fiber is, and the potential need to upgrade cables, good quality closures are vital to a successful installation. But what is a closure and what should you be looking for when choosing one?

Types of closures

Basic Closures

At its simplest, a closure joins one length of fiber cable to a different length of the same type of cable. This is sometimes known as in-line closure or track joint. Added functionality is provided by a spur (or branch) joint which divides the cable into two ongoing parts - the main cable and a side or spur cable. There are also end of route closures where the cable is broken out into individual elements for customer or telco connection.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Industrial premises

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Showing fiber cable solutions in action

Posted by Joe Byrne

In our information-driven world, fiber cable is a critical component of today’s high performance networks. Protecting this fiber is crucial, whether it is the last drop of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) broadband networks, within buildings, inside datacenters, in cars or in specialist applications.

However, when it comes to choosing the right fiber cable solution for your deployment it can be difficult. On the page, each one can look the same so, to help network planners and installers, we’ve created a series of videos. These showcase the complete range of solutions available from PPC; they demonstrate what makes our products different and how they assist in bringing down cost and time, while meeting rigorous quality standards.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Fiber innovations

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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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Who sets the standards for fiber cable?

Posted by Dave Stockton

In the high-tech telecoms world, the credit for new advances often goes to smart scientists and busy entrepreneurs. However, there is a group of people without whom the whole interconnected machine would fall apart. These are the men and women that generate the standards – the norms – to which a particular item performs and perhaps, even more importantly, defines its interface with other parts of the system.

Most people in the industry have heard about the different standards bodies, but exactly who are these people, what do their organizations do and how do they operate? This blog post aims to shed light on the whole area of standards for fiber cable and provide an introduction to the benefits they provide.

Topics: Regulatory/Policy, Fiber innovations

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All I want for Christmas is superfast broadband

Posted by Shaun Trezise


If you live in a 
rural location, superfast broadband roll-outs can take a long time to reach you - but if you're still waiting to be connected to fiber, spare a thought for Father Christmas. You can’t get much more isolated than the North Pole - the nearest cabinet is hundreds of miles away, and sub-zero conditions make installation a logistical nightmare.

Santa’s email explosion

Like a lot of rural dwellers, Santa Claus needs fiber broadband. Analysts estimate that the number of emails sent to Mr Claus' workshop at the North Pole now exceeds the number of traditional letters he receives. Following the internet traffic boom in the early 00s, combined with ever increasing postal charges, boys and girls both naughty and nice now prefer to email Santa than to put pen to paper.

Topics: Fiber to the home

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Back to the future for Australian superfast broadband

Posted by Jonathan Este


There were raised eyebrows among digital natives in Australia recently when Netflix announced it would open for business in Australia in March 2015. How, it was widely asked, would people access the service given that Netflix’s recommended bandwidth for 4k streaming is 25Mbps, and only 15.4% of Australian households manage speeds of more than 10Mbps?

Australia presently ranks at number 12 in the world, according to a report by the International Telecommunication Union - the Information and Communication Technology Development Index (IDI), which rates 166 countries according to their level of access to, use of and skills in using information and communication technology.

But according to Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report, Australia has fallen off the pace, dropping five places to number 49 in its rankings which assess the number of households with speeds above 4Mbps – only just over half at present.

Topics: Fiber to the home

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Joining fiber cable – what are the options?

Posted by John Dawson

However well you plan your installation, fiber cable is rarely the right length for each run, and is inherently difficult to join. Consequently, cables have to be connected or cut in the field, with the potential issues this entails. This blog post looks at the various options available to installers for responding to these issues; from splicing and field-fit connectors to factory-terminated or pre-connectorization.

1. Splicing in the field

When fiber was first deployed, it was mechanically spliced, meaning that fibers were butted together as tightly as possible and then mechanically encapsulated. Due to the potential for signal loss and poor reliability this was soon superseded by fusion splicing. This offers the best quality connection of all in-field options in that the fiber ends are lined up and welded together. No excess cable is left over when the process is complete.

Topics: Design and Install, Costs/ROI, Industrial premises

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