Senior technicians who have led the way in fiber optics are now retiring in large numbers, leaving an enormous hole in the industry’s workforce. And while this shortage is occurring, the need for fiber technology and deployments is fast-growing. How can the fiber industry keep up exactly?
According to the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, businesses in our industry need to hire at least 20,000 more broadband-related technicians in the next decade to expand universal broadband, public safety networks and 5G.
It’s time for things to change when it comes to fiber education and training, as well as equipment and resources if carriers want to deploy a brand-new, highly-skilled, fiber-savvy workforce.
Fiber Education and Training
Recently, traditional fiber training methods have not been able to support the volume and quality of installations needed. This has led service providers to entertain many good, bad and ugly solutions from equipment manufacturers to use alternative methods of connectivity to avoid or replace fiber splicing.
Many solutions have come and gone, some still being touted, but one principle remains true and constant, the best possible way to connect fiber optic cable still remains melting the glass or “fusing” it by using a fusion splicer.
The multiple-step and nuanced skill set required to splice fiber is no longer appealing to the changing workforce demographic. Newer, more efficient standards-based methodologies have been developed, enabling shorter training-to-production level timelines and enabling cross-training among platforms of fusion splicers. But these methodologies are still not widespread enough.
Recently, the Fiber Broadband Association unveiled their Optical Telecom Installation Certification (OpTIC) program — a national fiber-optic technician training and certification program focused on addressing this same workforce need. It’s programs like this that will help balance our industry and fill those much-needed positions.
Fiber Equipment and Resources
Advancements in fiber optic technology in the optical and telecommunications industry have helped FTTx installations not only become more value-driven but also more efficient and methodical. Yet still, these advancements are not well-known throughout the industry.
As the world becomes more and more reliant on high-speed communications and reliable connections, the need for dependable fiber splices also increases.
That’s where UCL Swift’’s turn-key fiber splicing solutions can also help. Our All-In-One fusion splicers integrate thermal stripping, cleaving, cleaning, splicing and sleeving into one convenient unit, reducing installation time and improving connection reliability. It’s the easiest tool for new and training fiber technicians to work with.
At UCL Swift, we’ve trained thousands of technicians worldwide who had never even touched fiber before to be able to splice two fibers together and put a connector on the fiber — two skills that are most desired for an FTTx fiber technician. Our system of fusion splicers enables us to deliver these skills in a matter of hours versus the weeks traditional methods and systems take.
Utilizing training and deployment methods with well-defined standardized processes enables quick and easy successes, eliminates nuances and monotony, and delivers consistent, high-quality results. If you’re ramping up rapidly and need an influx of well-trained, reliable field technicians, there’s no better fiber workforce transformation tool than our All-In-One fiber splicers.