West Central Telephone came to campus to teach students how to work with fiber optic cable.
West Central Telephone, based out of Sebeka, Minnesota, spent the day at the Granite Falls campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College on Tuesday, April 22 showing students in the Computer Technology, Telecommunications, Wind Energy and Electrician programs how to work with fiber optic cable. The demonstration included lessons in the various types of cable, connections and applications. The students were given the opportunity to work with cable using equipment that is used by the phone company to install, test and replace cable that connects people to the Internet.
About sixty students, faculty and staff split into three groups for training. Team one, led by Travis Floyd, plant manager for West Central Telephone, learned about the Optical Time-domain Reflectometer or OTDR and how it works. This device is used to find the location of breaks in fiber optic cable saving time and resources for repairs.
The Second team, led by Dave Kicker learned how to prep and splice fiber in an outdoor communication pedestal. This gave the feel of working on fiber in outside plants. Team Three, led by Matt Miller terminated the fiber at the Nids, or connection to houses.
Fiber optic cable splicers cost about $15,000 new or $7,500 for a used machine. The Telecommunications program at Minnesota West was able to purchase a used splicer from West Central Telephone for $3,500 through their collaboration. In addition, West Central Telephone donated another $1,000 worth of supplies and equipment to the program for training. The cable splicer will be shared with the Wind Energy and Electrician programs at the Canby campus and the Computer and Electrical programs at the Jackson campus.