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PPC blog

Is the plan for Irish fiber broadband about to get stuck in a ditch?

Posted by Paul Ryan

The Irish government has announced an ambitious National Broadband Plan (NBP) to intervene in the provision of broadband services covering 700,000 homes and businesses in rural areas. At best, the locations identified by the Government today have only very basic, if any, broadband services and commercial networks have no plans to provide them with high speed broadband.

Whilst the scheme is not specifically targeting fiber broadband, by implication most observers believe that the tender requirements dictate a fiber solution. The NBP aims to definitively address Ireland’s connectivity challenge by removing existing cost barriers, preventing commercial operators from providing high speed services to end users across the entire country.

Topics: Design and Install, Fiber to the home, Regulatory/Policy

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The seven deadly sins of fiber cable installations

Posted by Rich Contreras

When planning, installing or updating a fiber network there are multiple issues that can push up cost and complexity. Many of these only manifest themselves when you actually visit the deployment site, see what existing infrastructure is in place and how you need to work with it. Whether it is completely congested ducts, rat’s nests of existing cables or poorly protected fiber connections, here are the top seven issues that we’ve come across when helping carry out implementations across the world.

1. Poor quality fiber cable protection

Fiber is inherently fragile, and many lower cost/poorer quality cables don’t provide much additional protection. This is particularly true when deployed in outside environments, where factors such as wind, rain and ultraviolet radiation from the sun can all cause protection tubing to fail, exposing cables to the elements. At the same time some cheaper protection tubes cannot be handled easily, as minimal force will cause them to break. In contrast higher quality versions can be clipped directly to walls such is their inherent strength.

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

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Fiber deployments and the Internet of Things

Posted by Joe Byrne

Previously, we’ve looked at the applications that will drive the need for Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks. One of the areas mentioned was the Internet of Things (IoT), and in this blog I’d like to look in more detail at what it is and what it will do.

What is the Internet of Things?

In a nutshell the Internet of Things involves providing previously ‘dumb’ devices with connections to the internet. A good definition is from BT - “The Internet of Things refers to technologies that allow networked devices to sense other devices and interact and communicate with them.”

The ‘Things’ are real world objects – essentially anything that can have a sensor embedded within it and is able to communicate wirelessly with the wider world, such as vehicles, machines, buildings, people, animals, goods or the environment around us. One Dutch farmer has fitted his cows with sensors, so he can be alerted to any health issues or when they need milking.

Topics: Fiber to the home, MDU, Market trends

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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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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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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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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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