Corning breaking ground on new fiber-cable manufacturing facility in Arizona

Aug. 30, 2022
Expected to open in 2024, the Gilbert, Ariz. plant is being constructed based on Corning’s supplier relationship with AT&T.

On August 30 Corning announced it is expanding its manufacturing capacity for optical cable, based on a long-term relationship with AT&T, as the carrier expands its fiber service. Corning will build a new cable manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona, in the greater Phoenix area.

“The new facility is Corning’s latest in a series of investments in fiber and cable manufacturing totaling more than $500 million since 2020,” the company pointed out when making the announcement. It added that these investments nearly double the company’s ability to serve the U.S. cable market to connect more people and communities. “Public and private investments in broadband, 5G, and the cloud are accelerating a large, multi-year wave of growth for fiber-based networks, and Corning … is uniquely positioned to support these network builds.”

The Arizona facility, expected to open in 2024, will be the industry’s western-most U.S. manufacturing site for optical cable, Corning added, allowing the company to serve growing demand in the western U.S. and Canada. “This investment is a significant step forward for our country and building world-class broadband networks that will help narrow the nation’s digital divide,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey. “This new facility will provide additional optical cable capacity to meet the record demand the industry is seeing for fast, reliable connectivity. We are also working with Corning to create training programs to equip the next generation of technicians with the skills to build the networks that will expand high-speed internet access to millions of Americans.”

Corning and AT&T created the Fiber Optic Training Program, focused on equipping thousands of technicians with the skills critical to design, install, and maintain a growing fiber network. The initial class is currently underway in North Carolina, and the program aims to train 50,000 American workers over the next five years. The program supports the White House’s Talent Pipeline Challenge, a program to help employers build training partnerships that connect American workers to good jobs rebuilding infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing.

“We believe access to broadband means access to opportunity—from education to healthcare to quality of life,” said Corning chairman and CEO Wendell P. Weeks. “Corning is doing our part to make sure everyone—regardless of where they live—has access to reliable, high-speed connections enabled by optical fiber. We are proud to continue partnering with AT&T and to expand U.S. manufacturing capacity and train the next generation of American workers—and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with our customers and with the U.S. government to make this a reality.”

Gary Bolton, president and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association, commented, “We are at the beginning of the largest fiber-optics investment cycle in history as our nation works to build the critical broadband infrastructure of the future. Today’s announcement by Corning is significant for our industry as it helps address the record demand for optical cable, as the industry comes together to build and deploy the future-ready fiber networks that will bring reliable, affordable high-speed internet to more Americans, regardless of where they live. Importantly, the capacity being added by Corning will be in place in time to support network buildouts funded by the federal government’s $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment [BEAD] program.”

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) CEO David Stehlin added, “We congratulate Corning, one of TIA’s longest-standing memembers, on the announcement of their new fiber and cabling manufacturing facility in Arizona, scheduled to open in 2024. Fifty years after Corning invented optical fiber, and with millions of miles of fiber deployed, the need for optical fiber-based services continues to grow. This significant manufacturing investment will increase product availability and support the exciting U.S. government grant programs intended to bring broadband access to all Americans. Congratulations to Corning and the state of Arizona as hundreds of new U.S.-based information and communications technology manufacturing jobs will add to a trusted, resilient and secure global network supply chain.”        

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