Corning's new N.C. optical cable manufacturing plant to supply broadband buildouts

March 30, 2023
Corning's optical cable manufacturing facility expansion will explicitly help address growing demand for fiber and cable, as U.S. network operators bring high-speed connectivity to underserved communities, particularly in rural America.

On March 29, Corning Inc. formally announced the opening its newest optical cable manufacturing campus in Hickory, North Carolina. The company said the new manufacturing center will help accelerate U.S. buildouts of high-speed fiber broadband networks "and connect the unconnected."

With the campus’s two new facilities, Corning will help provide U.S. network operators with the cable they need to bring high-speed fiber connectivity to underserved communities, particularly in rural America.

Per a press statement, the new advanced manufacturing facilities will add hundreds of jobs to Corning’s existing North Carolina workforce of more than 5,000. The new campus is part of a series of investments by Corning totaling more than $500 million since 2020, helping to meet growing fiber and cable demand and strong customer commitments.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo, whose agency is spearheading the national “Internet for All” initiative, joined the facilities’ opening ceremonies, along with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Stephen Milner, CEO of Planters Broadband Cooperative, on behalf of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association.

"It is past time that every American be connected with affordable internet no matter where they live," said Secretary Raimondo. "We could not do it without the folks at Corning. We wouldn’t have the fiber, the innovation, the cable. We wouldn’t be able to connect rural America – all of America."

Public and private investments continue to drive a large, multi-year wave of growth for fiber-based networks. Corning, as the inventor of optical fiber and the industry leader, is uniquely positioned to support these network buildouts.

"High-speed internet is critical for North Carolinians to work, learn, get health care online, and connect with one another," North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said. "Manufacturers like Corning know our strong workforce and economy make North Carolina the best place to do business, and we’re glad to partner with them to create more good paying jobs in Hickory."

Corning recently launched a strategic supply collaboration with NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association to support rural network buildouts, providing NTCA members with a specially reserved supply of cable and connectivity solutions.

“We thank Corning for the work it has done to increase domestic production capacity and to help address the concerns of smaller, rural providers regarding access to fiber-optic cable,” said Milner, CEO of Planters Broadband, a cooperative broadband provider in Newington, Georgia. “We look forward to continuing to work with Secretary Raimondo and her team to help ensure that the vision of the bipartisan infrastructure law can be realized.”

Corning notes it has manufactured optical fiber and cable in North Carolina for more than 40 years.

With the opening of the Trivium campus, Corning will manufacture optical cable at two sites in Hickory and at sites in Newton and Winston-Salem. The company manufactures optical fiber in Concord and Wilmington. Charlotte is home to Corning’s Optical Communications headquarters.

“With this new manufacturing campus, we’re creating local jobs, we’re helping our workforce build important skills, we’re cultivating our next generation of talent right here in North Carolina, and we’re thrilled to continue addressing demand for the fiber and cable that are so vital to moving the world forward,” said Corning Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wendell P. Weeks. “We appreciate the support of federal, state, local officials, and industry organizations as we come together to help connect the unconnected and to make ‘Internet for All’ a reality.”

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