WASHINGTON D.C.—The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) has announced the launch of its Optical Telecom Installation Certification (OpTIC) program.
The pilot course of the OpTIC program will start on March 29, 2022, in partnership with Greenlight Community Broadband and Wilson Community College in Wilson, N.C. and expand from there into other states.
The program was designed by leading fiber broadband experts to quickly improve fiber technician skills, fill the existing fiber skills gap and accelerate fiber deployments across North America.
“We are currently engaged with 23 states to roll out this fiber optic technician training program with their community college systems and fiber optic broadband service providers. We look to reach all 50 states and the U.S. territories by the end of the year," said Deborah Kish, vice president of research and workforce development at the Fiber Broadband Association. “We did a limited launch with veterans earlier this month and are phasing our rollout based on training institute readiness.”
The FBA forecasts that more fiber will be deployed in the next five years than has been deployed in the past 20 years, but the need for skilled fiber optic technicians will significantly impact each state’s ability to deploy broadband. The FBA’s OpTIC program teaches the knowledge and skills required to properly install, test and maintain high-speed fiber broadband networks.
“It is the FBA’s mission to accelerate the deployment of fiber-based broadband so that every community can leverage the economic and societal benefits that only fiber can deliver,” said Gary Bolton, president and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. “When we saw the need for an expanded fiber workforce in order to keep up with broadband demand and growth opportunities, we began development of this intensive training program to ensure that no state is left behind in the digital equity gap.”
The OpTIC program was inspired by the late Gene Scott, a long-time community broadband advocate, chairman of the FBA’s Education Committee and general manager outside plant of Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, N.C., where the first pilot course will be based. The Wilson Community College class will be led by Larry Johnson, FBA Technology Committee member and president at FiberStory, and Jimmi Hendricks of Greenlight Community Broadband.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.