CommScope unveils HeliARC cable, boosts U.S. fiber production for broadband push

March 31, 2023
CommScope said its new HeliARC fiber-optic cables are expected to support 500,000 homes per year in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments.
CommScope
Commscope Cable

On Mar. 29, CommScope (NASDAQ: COMM) announced that the company is expanding its U.S. fiber-optic cable production to accelerate the rollout of broadband infrastructure across the nation, connecting more communities and underserved areas.

Concurrently, CommScope unveiled its new HeliARC fiber-optic cable, specifically designed for the needs of rural deployments, and announced a $47 million capex investment in the U.S. toward expanding fiber-optic cable production focused on rural applications.

The company says the moves will increase U.S. employment opportunities with the addition of at least 250 jobs over the next five years, 90% of which will not require a college degree. As stated by a press release, CommScope is bolstering supply chain production in the U.S. in support of the Biden-Harris Administration's initiative "to have the supply chain for America begin in America."

The announcement was made at an event in North Carolina with the Honorable Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Department of Commerce, Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson, U.S. Department of Commerce, and the Honorable Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina. Also present were esteemed members of the community. During the event, CommScope showcased its current facilities in Catawba and Claremont.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo commented:

“Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re going to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet. But our Internet for All initiative is not just a connectivity program – it's an opportunity to create jobs and expand domestic manufacturing. As we’ve seen today, we can produce the materials needed for broadband deployment right here in America. With today’s announcement of a $47 million investment, CommScope is demonstrating its commitment to our once-in-a-generation infrastructure moment.”

CommScope said its new HeliARC fiber-optic cables are expected to support 500,000 homes per year in fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments. Designed especially for rural deployments, the company bills HeliARC as a smaller and lighter-weight cable, allowing for faster installation and lower cost of deployment.

According to a brochure on CommScope's website, the newly announced HeliARC platform -- where "Heli" seems to refer to the cable's helical core construction and "ARC" stands for "advanced rural cable" -- incorporates a helical stranding process that eliminates the need for binder yarns, replaces water-blocking tape with two small threads, and reduces steel armor tape width and the amount of medium density polyethylene (MDPE) compound used.

The company says the new cable's reduced size and weight also lowers shipping costs, permitting more product to move in one shipment, thereby making it a more sustainable and environmentally friendly product, as noted by the company.

Chuck Treadway, president and CEO of CommScope, commented:

“We are in the business of connectivity. We strive to provide superior solutions to our customers who, in turn, provide connectivity for businesses, individuals and communities. This increase in fiber-optic cable production is a great step forward for our ‘Broadband for Everyone’ program, furthering our commitment to serve the fiber optic cable market. We will produce more cost-effective and easier-to-deploy fiber-optic cable, add new jobs and simultaneously strengthen the supply chain in America. This is a trifecta we are thrilled to announce, and we are particularly pleased to share this news today in the company of Secretary Raimondo and Governor Cooper.”

Currently, CommScope has two fiber-optic cable production facilities in North Carolina, one in Catawba and the other in Claremont. The company said increase in fiber-optic cable production in part results from an expansion of manufacturing at these facilities, where they will add lines of production for HeliARC cable line. This expansion in manufacturing increases American supply chain production resulting in more “Made in America” products.

"From telemedicine and remote work to education and small businesses, access to high-speed internet is essential in today’s digital age,” concluded North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “CommScope’s expansion of fiber-optic cable production will help even more families get online in North Carolina and across the country.”

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