On Tuesday June 5, Sarah Putt watched as a Fibre to the Home connection was installed in Albany, Auckland.
Albany is one of the first areas that Chorus – which won around 70 percent of the government
contract to roll out Ultra Fast Broadband – is rolling out fibre.
The installation took four and half hours (between 8am and 12.30pm) and was carried out by Visionstream fibre installers on contract to Chorus. Implementation specialist Joseph Fuller was our guide.
To bring the fibre in from the street using the existing 20mm underground cable, the installers used the customers’ existing copper cable like a draw wire. The copper was disconnected from the roadside pillar, and the fibre and a separate draw tape were attached to the copper cable.
The copper was then pulled from the External Termination Point (ETP) outside the house, and this in turn pulled through the fibre and the extra draw tape.
The fibre was then detached from the copper. Using the draw tape, the copper was pulled back to the pillar and reconnected (sometimes this last step doesn’t occur if the copper is removed).
Inside the open manhole, the installer removes the black Fibre Access Terminal (FAT). The blue cable contains 144 fibres that are connected to a roadside cabinet. The cabinet is attached by a feeder fibre to the Albany exchange about 2-3 kms away (although it can be up to 15kms).
The black cable runs from the man hole at the curb to the External Termination Point (ETP) outside the house. It contains two fibres – orange and blue – but only the blue is connected (orange is in reserve should the house require an additional connection, this is a requirement under the contract with Crown Fibre Holdings).
A fusion splicer is used to join the fibre connections.
The splice carried out at the man hole joins fibre from the black cable, which is connected to the house, to one of the fibres in the blue cable, which is connected to the cabinet.
The cable is stripped to reveal the fibre inside.
The plastic casing that will protect the joint between the blue and black fibre cables.
The blue fibre cable is placed inside a fusion splicer, and cut using a diamond cutter called a cleaver - its purpose is to ensure that before any splice the fibre glass ends are perfectly cut and straight edged.
The installer fires up the generator which powers the green-handled heat gun that shrinks the plastic casing around the fibre cable at the entrance to the Fibre Access Terminal.
The installer attaches the fibre cables onto the splice tray inside the FAT and writes the address of the house. Each house has its own tray, and each Fibre Access Terminal serves between 12-24 houses.
This article first appeared in Computerworld.