OSP Expert: Don McCarty

Give us your best guess: What is the life of fiber?


I received an email from Glen Copeland, who is a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) and the Principal Engineer for a large Utility in Central Washington State. The Utility has built a fiber optic network that extends to most of their county, providing residents with broadband access speeds up to 1 Gbps. As a utility provider, their main business is to provide power to their customers. Their electric rates are among the lowest in the nation, while their customer service standards are among the highest. With a focus on the customer, their goal is simple: safely provide utility services that enhance…

Maintaining the copper infrastructure coverage until it is replaced by fiber


The PSTN, or POTS, network may be at the end of its life, but the copper infrastructure properly maintained continues to generate revenue from special access circuits to homes and businesses for years to come. In 2015, the FCC released new data claiming that there was over $40 billion in broadband and data service revenues known as special access. The majority of special access service is still mostly copper-based services, and that revenue-generating copper infrastructure is paid for. To date, only 25% of the homes and businesses in the US are fiber-served. Fiber is deployed as fast as it is…

Placing G.fast vs. FTTH in Brownfield Construction


Many Telcos are now comparing the cost of placing fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) vs. G.fast in brownfield construction. FTTH is common in greenfield construction. Placing fiber in subdivisions that are already served with paired copper networks, both aerial and buried, is an arduous task and it is extremely expensive. G.fast is, for most, a viable, less expensive alternative. G.fast is a digital subscriber line (DSL) protocol standard for local copper loops shorter than 1,600 feet (500 meters) offering speeds over 100 megabits. G.fast uses fiber to existing buried pedestals or aerial terminals, and then uses existing copper to the residence, and uses existing…

Oops! Sometimes We Don’t Know the Best Answer


We post our phone numbers at the end of every column, and we train hundreds of technicians. Therefore, we also get hundreds of calls each year asking for our help in resolving a tough case of trouble. While we often, even usually, help find the cause of the trouble, we aren’t right all the time. Following are some cases where we got it wrong. Hi Don, It has been a long time since I have” bothered” you. My 72-year-old brain is letting me down. A technical issue has come up where when we cross-connect a POTS line to a cable…

Returning to Earth


By Vernon May Don and I have brought another of our disagreements to conclusion. He has always insisted that the power lines impact broadband service. My position has been that the pure harmonics of 60 Hz have so little power at the DSL frequency range that they have no impact. When compared to the background noise levels from pair-to-pair crosstalk within the binder groups, it’s next to nothing. In this case, we were both right — kind of. As we discussed what Don saw in the field and what I saw in the field, some factors previously not considered came…

Updates on “5 Questions About Fiber Optic Bonding, Grounding, and Locating”


From the September 2016 OSP Expert Column Our September 2016 OSP Expert column on fiber optic cable bonding and grounding, co-written by Vernon May and me (mostly Vernon’s work), caused quite a stir. The responses to the 5 questions have ranged from “finally, somebody asked these questions” to “you guys are going to get somebody killed”. (You can read this column again at https://www.isemag.com/2016/09/5-questions-about-fiber-optic-bonding-grounding-and-locating/.) Given the responses, Vernon offered to address this topic again. Here are his thoughts. September 2016 Column Summary Don and I received a question from a reader early in 2016. His position was that he completely…

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