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Training the Cable Workforce for the Future of Connectivity

July 28, 2023
Learn how three SCTE courses can help attract, retain, and train the cable workforce of the future.

The DOCSIS® 4.0 rollout represents the future of cable connectivity and today’s workforce needs to be ready with the knowledge necessary to upgrade cable operators’ access network architectures and stay ahead of the pace of consumers’ bandwidth consumption. This next iteration in the DOCSIS standard for data transfer over coaxial cable TV connections will allow cable companies to remain competitive with fiber. The trinity of focus at the foundation of today’s training is DOCSIS, construction and fiber.

Akin to the future of connectivity, the future of learning is founded in tech innovation. Training a workforce in today’s high output, the digital world demands easily digestible formats, like microlessons, or short training sessions that offer a broad view of industry topics, and hands-on simulations. From a holistic standpoint, we need to train the industry where they are. Training needs to be accessible everywhere and engaging to improve retention. Combinations of bootcamps, microlessons, and simulations, and the gamification of online learning represent the future of learning today.

Fiber and Construction

Current DOCSIS training provided by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE®), a subsidiary of CableLabs, does its best to do that.

Three courses relevant to those who want to excel in the cable industry are described below:

DOCSIS 4.0 Essentials is an updated online course that provides essential knowledge for learners in physical layer changes, Mac layer changes, and security changes introduced by the new specification. DOCSIS 4.0 also offers a bootcamp module that provides in-person professional training and hands-on group activities, so learners can walk away with a mastery of the next generation of cable services.
The Broadband Fiber Installation (BFI) program is designed to teach learners the foundation of working with fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP)/FTTx networks so they can better service cable customers. The course uses materials like LightningMod, eBooks, NetworkSim, and VirtuGame, to help learners understand the types of passive optical networks (PONs) used by cable operators and differentiate these networks from an HFC and deep fiber access network architecture. It will review the different types of installation equipment and customer premises equipment (CPE) needed to support FTTP/FTTx networks. It will also introduce working with multiple wavelengths, contrasting optical measurements, and troubleshooting FTTP/FTTx service issues.
The outside plant engineer must understand what should be included in a project design from the beginning to the project's closeout. A training course like Construction Engineering allows learners to comprehend the challenges and pitfalls they may encounter during the make-ready construction process including differences between a right-of-way and easement, as well as the related permits for both. At the course’s completion, learners will know how to describe a property accurately and understand whether it has liens, covenants, and restrictions that are pertinent to the success of the project.

“From a holistic standpoint, we need to train the industry where they are. Training needs to be accessible everywhere and engaging to improve retention.”

Training the Workforce of the Future

As part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the FCC formed the Telecommunications Workforce Interagency Group to address the workforce needs of the telecom industry and its mounting labor challenges.

Working with industry leadership to solve real-world challenges, our teams create curriculums based on current job roles, specific job tasks, and required practical behaviors to empower future technologies. We’ve also established educational partnerships, colleges and universities including Dartmouth College, Cornell, and Georgia Tech. Through a combination of courses from SCTE and Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, learners can earn an Associate of General Studies degree with an emphasis on Computer Networking & Telecommunications via FHSU Online. SCTE also recently partnered with Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona, to offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in Broadband Telecommunications.

In today’s world, broadband has become the great equalizer. Through the BEAD Program, the public and private sectors have joined forces to expand broadband connectivity across America, but this transformation is being hindered by a labor shortage.

Cable leaders must not only focus on attracting new employees to the industry, but also upskilling the existing workforce to support the global expansion of connectivity and technological innovation.

About the Author

Robin Fenton | VP, Membership and Learning Operations, SCTE®, a subsidiary of CableLabs®

Robin Fenton is the Vice President of Membership and Learning Operations at SCTE®, a subsidiary of CableLabs®, and the nonprofit member organization leading the acceleration and deployment of cable telecommunications technology. Fenton’s team develops and facilitates industry certifications and training courses for professionals at all levels of the cable industry. Learn more at Follow Robin on LinkedIn: Follow SCTE on Twitter:, LinkedIn:, and Facebook: