The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) on May 2 announced recently published updates to its "Fiber Broadband Supply Chain" white paper, noting significant improvements in industry lead times for the broadband infrastructure supply chain.
FBA says the updated white paper, titled “Strategies to Mitigate Bottlenecks in the Current Fiber Broadband Supply Chain,” helps companies carefully plan to overcome supply chain challenges, and advises on how to build more robust systems and processes to buffer companies from future challenges, and to keep fiber projects on target.
The FBA’s Supply Chain Working Group initially published the white paper in September 2022. The working group reports it recently discovered new data that shows up to 92% faster lead times in some fiber broadband equipment categories.
“This latest supply chain information is encouraging for fiber broadband providers today that are building reliable, high-speed fiber broadband networks to connect their communities and close the digital equity gap.
However, our Supply Chain Working Group does caution that while it is reporting current relief in the supply chain, it expects to see an uptick in demand going forward. Therefore, it encourages companies to continue to put a hard focus on long-range planning and to follow FBA mitigation strategies presented in the white paper.”
The updated paper provides vital statistics on fiber broadband supply chain fluctuations and examples of how to protect fiber-related projects from the negative effects of supply chain stressors.
Per an FBA press release, the latest data shows improved lead times in several key fiber broadband component categories, including:
- A 92% decrease in minimum lead times for fiber optic cables (from 52-60 weeks in Summer 2022 to 4-10 weeks as of March 2023).
- A 60% decrease in minimum lead times for fiber cabinets and splitters (from 10-20 weeks in Summer 2022 to 4-8 weeks as of March 2023).
- An 80% decrease in minimum lead times for fiber multiport terminals (from 20-35 weeks in Summer 2022 to 4-8 weeks as of March 2023).
- An 80% decrease in minimum lead times for conduit (from 15-20 weeks in Summer 2022 to 3-7 weeks as of March 2023).
- A 64% decrease in minimum lead times for hand holes (from 22-26 weeks in Summer 2022 to 8-14 weeks as of March 2023).
- A 67% decrease in minimum lead times for home equipment (from 12-24 weeks in Summer 2022 to 4-10 weeks as of March 2023).
Scott Jackson, national broadband market manager at Graybar, Fiber Broadband Association board member, and chair of the FBA's Supply Chain Working Group, explained:
“Our supply chain white paper serves as an important resource for FBA members to mitigate supply chain challenges and accelerate fiber broadband deployments, so it is crucial that we provide the most up-to-date information and strategies. Beyond statistics, it also provides recommendations on how to pursue stronger partnerships, long-range planning, high-level design optimization, changing how companies recruit and train their labor force, and smarter technology options to plan and maintain stocking levels.”
On May 9, at 11:00 am EDT, FBA will be presenting a webinar to review the updates to the “Strategies to Mitigate Bottlenecks in the Current Fiber Broadband Supply Chain” white paper. You can register for the webinar here.
On a separate but closely related topic, in the following recent episode of the FBA's "Fiber for Breakfast" video series, Mark Boxer, technical manager at OFS, and Tim House, EVP, COO at WIA, provide insights regarding the importance of industry partnerships and participation from fiber ISPs and contractors, and how these organizations can benefit from apprenticeships and apply for grant funding to expedite building their much needed fiber broadband workforce.