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PPC blog

How to guard against damage to your fiber network

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Protecting your fiber network is vital to ensure you continue to deliver services to your customers, retain their business, and get a good return on your investment. However, there are a number of ways that your network can be damaged or even destroyed - how can you minimize risk and guard against failures?

The enemies of your fiber network fall into five main groups:

1. Animals!

Members of the animal kingdom seem to have a fascination with cable, and a single-minded desire to destroy it. Rodents, birds, monkeys and insects have all caused major issues with connections - even bears have been known to try and chew cables in remoter regions. There are plenty more examples of animal attacks in this previous blog, making them public enemy number one for many operators.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics

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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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Fiber to the home and increased customer satisfaction

Posted by Maxine Frith

Let’s face it - the telecoms industry doesn’t have the best of reputations when it comes to customer satisfaction.

But something seems to be changing. Two years ago my husband and I came back to our home in Cambridge from two weeks in France to find our (and our neighbors') internet connection had been severed. However, what would normally be classed as a disaster has actually been a blessing in disguise, as our old lines were replaced by fiber to the home (FTTH) connections. Personally, as a freelance journalist I rely heavily on the internet, as does my husband and neighbors – not to mention the meltdowns that happen amongst our teenage children if they can’t get online.

But in the last 12 months, there have been no fevered meetings outside our front doors, no anguished dash to a cafe with laptop underarm. As a lay consumer, things have only improved. And surveys across Europe are showing this is not an isolated experience.

Recent research shows that FTTH customers are more than twice as happy with their service as DSL consumers. Not only that – FTTH subscribers are more likely to be thinking of upgrading in the next 12 months and to consider that their connectivity will increase the value of their home.

So FTTH customers like – even love - what they have – and are prepared to pay more for it. The Holy Grail of telecoms satisfaction may have been discovered.

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

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Demystifying singlemode fiber types

Posted by Shaun Trezise


To the layperson, all fiber cables can seem the same, with the only potential difference being in their dimensions. But look closer and there is a myriad of variations between them - and choosing the right one for your project can be vital in terms of performance, cost, reliability and safety.

Previously, we’ve discussed the bodies that set standards for fiber types and how you can ensure you pick the right cable to meet safety requirements, outlined by the National Electrical Code, and fire regulations

In this post, I’d like to explain a bit more about the differences between the specifications of the G.65x series of singlemode optical fiber families. These are set by the ITU-T and have equivalent specifications, created by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Rather than refer to both ITU-T and IEC terminology, I’ll stick to the simpler ITU-T G.65x naming convention - you can see how the specifications match up in the table at the end of this handy guide from the FIA.

There are 19 singlemode variants in the G.65x series, but I’ll group them together where possible. I won’t cover the G.651 multimode fiber standards to avoid any confusion.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Data/Statistics, Regulatory/Policy

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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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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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Is FTTC enough for the UK’s future superfast broadband needs?

Posted by Joe Byrne

Currently operators in countries around the world are investing heavily in rolling out fiber broadband to subscribers, either directly with Fiber to the Home (FTTH) or through halfway houses such as Fiber to the Cabinet (FTTC), as in the UK. This is increasing subscriber speeds, with the US average connection speed hitting 10.5 Mbps in Q1 2014, according to research from Akamai. Globally, the average speed is 3.9 Mbps, with South Korea heading the table with 23.6 Mbps.

Topics: Data/Statistics, Market trends

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