Referenced in recent announcements from the Biden Administration, CommScope detailed on July 26 its plans to expand its fiber-cable manufacturing capability in North Carolina. The company will invest $60.3 billion over the next four years to expand its manufacturing facilities in the Tar Heel State (sorry, Duke University fans).
“These plans bolster CommScope’s ability to meet U.S. supply demands driven by federal initiatives to bring Internet for All—including in underserved and rural broadband markets—and will also enhance production capacity over the next four years,” the company said. “Increased production and creation of at least 250 new jobs will align with demand driven from states throughout the U.S. as they begin to disburse Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment [BEAD] program funding.
“CommScope currently has the capacity to manufacture drop cable at a rate of approximately 2 billion feet per year in its U.S. facilities—a level of production that will allow states and their partners to connect every underserved American as a part of the BEAD program,” the company continued. “The expansion will further allow CommScope to manufacture the necessary cable to enable service providers to deploy broadband across the U.S. Capacity increase will align around loose-tube production and additional fiber cable counts and styles needed for rural deployment, including HeliARC fiber-optic cable.”
Announced in March 2023, HeliARC fiber-optic cable (pictured) is specifically designed for rural fiber network architecture. “HeliARC cable’s helical fiber core represents a major innovation,” CommScope explains in literature describing the product. “Built specifically for low-density rural FTTH networks, HeliARC cable’s unique design and easy handling reduce wasted material and time from deployments. HeliARC cable’s stranding process 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] compounds used. The result is a slimmer, stronger, more-robust and -resilient cable that affords longer aerial spans with lower tension—a must-have for rural FTTH networks—and boasts a crush strength of over 10,800 pounds.”
“Broadband for everyone is no longer a luxury, but rather a critical necessity to participate in today’s society and economic market,” said Chuck Treadway, CommScope’s president and chief executive officer. “We have long been committed to supplying our partners with the solutions necessary to bring broadband to everyone. Furthering our long-standing relationship with the State of North Carolina is a great next step to bring Internet for All, and we are thrilled to work with the state on this endeavor. This partnership not only contributes to the economic prosperity of Catawba County, but also furthers our commitment to meet the objectives of the BEAD program. This exciting expansion continues to shine a spotlight on Catawba County and North Carolina as the hub that supplies the nation with fiber cable.”
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper added, “Connecting every household in North Carolina to high-speed internet is going to take a lot of fiber, and with this expansion CommScope is answering the call not only with American jobs, but North Carolina jobs. We appreciate CommScope’s additional investment in Catawba County and their confidence in our workforce to improve the nation’s fiber-optic infrastructure.”
“We are honored CommScope has chosen Catawba County from which to continue to manufacture the cutting-edge technologies that will help bring out Internet for All across our state and nation,” said Catawba County County Board of Commissioners Chair Randy Isenhower. “As a company, CommScope remains one of our community’s greatest success stories from its entrepreneurial origin to its present Fortune 500 global enterprise. Their legacy and impact continue to grow with today’s announcement.”