The past year has taught us many lessons. Among them is the critical role of the cable network in our homes and our daily lives. The cable industry is providing essential services so that we can stay informed, so that our kids continue to receive an education, so that businesses can continue to operate and so that we can receive services like telehealth and telemedicine. With this, the role of the cable technician has transformed from someone we think about only when we need assistance, to an essential conduit to ensuring every aspect of our connected lives – work, school, social activities, medical care – runs smoothly.
As of 2020, the average American had access to more than ten connected devices, and that number is expected to continue to rise in the coming years. These devices are automating our lives and changing the way we live. Customers, who don’t want to be tethered to a hardline cable increasingly depend on these devices and wireless connections for information, socialization, education, entertainment and automation of day-to-day tasks. As a result, the reliability of the network and our in-home services have also become increasingly essential.
This underscores the importance that every technician understands the wireless network. With this in mind, SCTE has made the Understanding Wireless Networks course free with membership to ensure that professionals at every level – but especially technicians – have access to learn or refresh their skills related to wireless networks.
In addition, SCTE has relaunched the broadband premises series. Realizing that the installation fundamentals in the home are a critical component to the cable plant infrastructure, as well as ensuring satisfaction of the future cable customer, SCTE undertook a project to completely rewrite the basic installation courses. The revamped learning modules incorporate the latest developments in residential services in a more interactive learning system. Now a four-part series, the module focuses on customer service, safety, installation and troubleshooting. These courses provide instruction on the latest technologies, such as Wi-Fi, home networking, passive optical networks, MoCA and untethered devices.
These new courses have been built using SCTE’s interactive VirtuLearn format. In addition to the interactive eBook and engaging LightningMod, this series has several NetworkSims to help the learner have a hands-on, real-life experience in a 3D-simulated environment. The installation course alone has 12 NetworkSims to help the learner interact, engage and retain the knowledge that will be most helpful in the field. Some of the most popular NetworkSims can be found in the broadband premise series including Troubleshooting a Triple Play Installation, Aerial Drop Installation and Underground Drop Installation.
Upon completion of the first three courses in the series – customer service, safety and installation – learners are prepared to earn the nationally-recognized SCTE Broadband Premises Installer (BPI) certification. After completion of the fourth course in the series, they are prepared to earn the nationally recognized SCTE Broadband Premises Technician (BPT) certification. Unlike completing a course final which shows that coursework was learned, certification shows mastery in skill development. By completing a certification, a learner can show they have the skills needed for today’s workforce.
As we continue into 2021, we know that cable technicians, installers and those maintaining our cable plant and network are essential to keeping us connected today and tomorrow. The best ways we can support them as they support our communities is by giving them the tools, resources and knowledge to bring us the technology we need in our homes, schools and businesses.
— Robin Fenton is the vice president of membership and learning operations at SCTE, the not-for-profit 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. For more information, visit www.scte.org.