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PPC blog

Taking a toolbox approach to FTTH deployments

Posted by Simon Roberts

Interest is rapidly growing across the African continent into new fiber to the home (FTTH) ‘last drop’ techniques that turn ‘homes passed’ into ‘homes covered’.

That was the message I took away from the recent FTTH Council Africa Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. The well-attended event, hosted in the imposing Turbine Hall, was full of presentations and discussions about overcoming implementation challenges and delivering the benefits of fiber to the home networks.

Africa is part way through a transformation when it comes to broadband connectivity. Submarine cables deliver huge capacity to multiple locations around the continent’s coast, but the vast majority of the population is not yet connected. Internet use has grown by a staggering 5320% since 2000 (6 times greater than the rest of the world), but just 21% of the population is online. This is less than half the global average of 43%. Clearly there is work to do, but there is a huge amount being done to bridge this gap.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI, Market trends

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Six fiber deployment nightmares – and how they were solved

Posted by Rich Contreras

Every fiber network installation is unique, with its own set of challenges to be overcome. Whether it is a topographical problem that needs to be factored into planning or an issue that comes up while on-site, everyone that has been involved with fiber deployments has their own particular war stories which have been solved with a combination of ingenuity, experience and technology. Here is a selection of our own favorites – in the case of our experiences we’ve changed names to protect everyone involved.

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

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Fiber Connectors - what's the difference?

Posted by Shaun Trezise

Given the variety of splice options available to fiber network planners today identifying the best connector for FTTH can be overwhelming. Consequently often not much thought is given to connector selection with choice driven by cost, availability or what’s been used before. However each connector has its own unique design and therefore, pros and cons. Over time or depending on project size this can have a dramatic impact on deployment speeds and costs.

So what are the differences and what do they mean to your implementation? This table of common connectors gives an overview of strengths and weaknesses, with more detail in the accompanying descriptions:

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Fiber innovations

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What applications will fill up gigabit Fiber to the Home Connections?

Posted by Joe Byrne

The introduction in the United States of gigabit Fiber to the Home (FTTH) connectivity made me wonder what this extra speed could be used for. After all, many people survive perfectly happily with 30 Mbps (or smaller) connections and I recently downgraded my own home service from 120 Mbps to 60 Mbps without really seeing any difference in performance.

So how would I use the 17x increase in capacity that is available from a 1 gigabit connection? Is it just an expensive white elephant that no-one will actually need? The short answer is that it will be required – connection speeds that are adequate now will quickly become a bottleneck if they cannot cope with future needs.

Consequently I’ve got my crystal ball out and come up with five applications that I think will drive the need for this fiber connection speed – do add your own in the comments section.

Topics: Fiber to the home, Market trends

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Which last drop fiber installation method is best for you?

Posted by Tom Carpenter

In our series of blogs based on PPC’s Complete Guide to Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) Deployment eBook, we’ve outlined the options for operators, when it comes to:

The 5 last drop fiber installation methods

Moving on, operators then have to choose the installation method for the last drop of their FTTP network. Based on our experience, here are the pros and cons of the main techniques, along with some more detailed analysis:

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

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Mobily speeds up FTTH implementations with pushable fiber

Posted by Simon Roberts

Operators around the world are in the midst of major roll-outs of Fiber to the Home/Fiber to the Premises (FTTH/P) networks.

Ensuring these deployments are both fast and cost-effective is critical to their success, with operators and installers looking for ways of increasing efficiency and reducing unnecessary expense during the network deployment process.

A good example of a company successfully meeting this challenge is Mobily, the second operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Mobily’s implementation challenge

Mobily is currently connecting around 2,000 new fiber customers a month. FTTH implementations are carried out by external contractors, using products approved by Mobily. PPC's low risk and cost effective Miniflex fiber optic cable is one of those solutions.

Detecon Al-Saudia is an approved supplier to Mobily and currently undertakes approximately 500 installations per month in the Western region which covers the city of Jeddah.

Mobily typically has a ‘last mile’ connection of between 30-100m, bringing 2-Core fiber optic G652D into the house/premises. One fiber is field spliced with an LC connector, while the second dark fiber is coiled for redundancy.

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI

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Fiber networks for communities - 6 things city planners need to know

Posted by Tom Carpenter

Superfast fiber broadband has the potential to transform cities. By providing the ability to connect to the internet at high speed, citizens, businesses and the wider community all benefit through greater choice and faster access to services.

Education and lifelong learning can be extended, while healthcare can be digitized, improving quality of life for patients. Government services can be moved online; increasing efficiency while making it easier for citizens to interact with municipal government.

In an increasingly competitive market, the availability of superfast broadband can play a big part in where residents choose to live and businesses decide to set up.

Municipalities recognize this, and are planning and investing to reap the benefits of building a fiber network in their communities. A great example of this is the City of Loma Linda in California, which has built its own high capacity fiber network to underpin its growth. This has helped improve its large healthcare industry (it has five major hospitals with up to 100,000 patients visiting the city every day for treatment), attract new businesses to the municipality and provide a platform for more efficient local government.

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

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Making rural fiber deployments cost effective

Posted by Rich Contreras

High speed fiber broadband networks enable businesses to be more productive, open up new services to citizens, students and patients as well as letting households do more with their leisure time, wherever they are located.

Rural fiber deployment - the benefits

The positive impact of fiber networks can make a particular difference in living standards in rural areas: 

  • Better connections mean that people and businesses don’t need to migrate to bigger cities to live and work, and local economies are boosted by incomers who move into the area or tourists that visit.
  • Fiber is also important as cellphone coverage in rural areas can be patchy, due to the cost of installing towers and masts across sparsely populated countryside.
  • Students can access college or high school courses over the internet, cutting out disruption caused by snow days.
  • Traditional rural businesses, such as farmers, also benefit. They can access the latest commodities prices and decide when and where to send their crops or livestock to get the best price.
  • Tourism also benefits as visitors increasingly expect to be able to instantly post photos and video of unspoilt national parks on social media from their tablets, smartphones and computers.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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Key factors when choosing between buried and aerial fiber deployments

Posted by Joe Byrne


Careful planning is crucial if a Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) installation is to be a success. It begins with choosing your architecture and in a previous blog we looked at the advantages and disadvantages of PON and P2P architectures. This was part of the Complete Guide to Fiber to the Premises eBook, a free download that covers the factors you need to take into account when making choices for your implementation.

After choosing an architecture, the next challenge is cost-effectively deploying last drop connections. The first factors to take into account revolve around the terrain and environment, which affect whether to go for a buried or aerial deployment. Let’s look at these in more detail:

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home

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5 important steps to reducing FTTX roll out costs

Posted by Joe Byrne

Superfast broadband brings highly desirable benefits across the board, but complexities in the last drop can often introduce unwelcome expense and hamper progress.

In a previous post I looked at the roll out of FTTH in Africa and how high costs, in the short term at least, concentrate access within a narrow group that can afford to pay for installations. And, of course, the major prize and the bigger picture will be found in bringing access to much wider markets.

So the question remains; how can network designers reduce their FTTX roll out costs and bring those benefits home for a much wider demographic?

Topics: Fiber to the premises, Fiber to the home, Costs/ROI

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