Scope and key concepts

0.3.0 release

Welcome to the Open Fibre Data Standard 0.3.0 release.

We want to hear your feedback on the standard and its documentation. For general feedback, questions and suggestions, you can comment on an existing discussion or start a new one. For bug reports or feedback on specific elements of the data model and documentation, you can comment on the issues in the issue tracker or you can create a new issue.

To comment on or create discussions and issues, you need to sign up for a free GitHub account. If you prefer to provide feedback privately, you can email

This page explains the scope of the Open Fibre Data Standard (OFDS) in context of the three-layer network value chain. It also introduces key concepts that you need to understand in order to implement OFDS.

The network value chain

Fibre optic networks broadly consist of three layers:

  • The passive infrastructure layer consists of the non-electrical elements, such as dark fibre, ducts and physical sites

  • The active infrastructure layer consists of the electrical elements, such as lit fiber, access node switches and broadband remote access servers

  • The service layer consists of services consumed by end-users, such as internet, TV and telephony, which are delivered using the active infrastructure.

The layers of fibre optic networks

The primary focus of OFDS is to describe the passive network infrastructure. The standard also accommodates some details about the active infrastructure. The services that are delivered using the infrastructure are out of scope.


Based on the layers in the network value chain, there are three main groups of actors in a fibre optic network:

The actors in fibre optic networks

Depending on the business model used in a network, there can be one or more of each type of actor involved in a single network.

Physical infrastructure provider

OFDS defines a physical infrastructure provider as:

An organisation that owns and maintains passive network infrastructure, i.e. the non-electrical elements, such as dark fibre, ducts and physical sites.

Network provider

OFDS defines a network provider as:

An organisation that operates the active network infrastructure, i.e. the electrical elements, such as optical transceivers, switches and routers. In open business models, network providers provide wholesale access to service providers such as retail internet service providers. Network providers can own or lease the active network infrastructure.

Service provider

Service providers are organisations that deliver digital services across a network. For example, internet, e-health, elderly care, TV, phone, video-conferencing, entertainment, teleworking, smart monitoring etc. Service providers are out of scope of OFDS.

Network business models

The actors in a fibre network can take on different roles depending on the business model(s) used in the network.

In a fully integrated model, one actor takes on all three roles, whilst in open networks the roles are separated. There are several possible business models for an open network:

Business models for an open network

Key concepts


OFDS defines a network as:

A telecommunication network. A network consists of a set of nodes interconnected by spans.

An example network


OFDS defines a node as:

A point within a network. A node may be an access point or may reflect a geographic point at which a span splits, aggregates or crosses a border. Nodes can allow for interconnections to other networks or connections to end users.

Nodes can represent different elements in a fibre network and the type of each node can be specified in the data, for example a node could be a point of presence, an internet exchange point and/or a cable landing.

For more information about nodes, see the Node reference.


OFDS defines a span as:

A physical connection between two nodes.

The nodes that a span connects are known as its endpoints. In addition to the endpoints, the physical route of the span can also be specified as a LineString. This allows for the detailed route of a span to be published even when granular data on node locations along the span is unavailable, for example in a dataset describing a national backbone network.

An example span

For more information about spans, see the Span reference.

Geospatial data

Geospatial data is information that describes objects or features with a location on or near the surface of the earth. Geospatial data typically combines location information (usually coordinates on the earth) and attribute information (the characteristics of the object concerned).

OFDS data is usually geospatial data. It can contain both location information, such as the location of nodes and spans, and attribute information, such as the capacity of a span.

OFDS data uses GeoJSON geometry objects to represent location information. Nodes occupy single locations in space, so OFDS data uses the GeoJSON ‘Point’ geometry type to represent them. Spans are connected paths, so OFDS data uses the GeoJSON ‘LineString’ geometry type to represent them.

Examples of OFDS node and span location data are given below.

    "geometry": {
        "type": "Point",
        "coordinates": [
    "geometry": {
        "type": "LineString",
        "coordinates": [

OFDS supports publishing geospatial data in several formats, for more information read the publication format reference.