Science innovator Corning has made plans to build a new factory in response to the demand for broadband Internet services.
Increasing demand for fiber-optic cables has prompted Corning to build a new manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix.
The new facility is expected to be completed in 2024 and will add around 250 jobs to the local economy.
Corning’s facility will supply AT&T’s new project in Arizona with the necessary cable. The service provider announced plans to create a fiber internet network in Mesa, Arizona, that will reach over 100,000 homes starting in 2023. The project is AT&T’s first in the state.
With the addition of the new factory, Corning’s overall investment into fiber and cable manufacturing since 2020 will total more than $500 million. Corning will be able to service double its previous market in North America.
Why it’s news
Internet traffic may grow five times its current rate over the next five years, according to AT&T CEO John Stanky.
According to government estimates, somewhere between 15 and 18 million U.S. homes do not have access to high speed Internet.
“Ultimately everything is moving to one fiber-fed infrastructure to be able to deal with the demand equation,” he said.
The infrastructure bill passed in November 2021 included $42.5 billion in grants intended for states to increase broadband infrastructure. The funds have incentivized continued broadband growth, driving the demand.
With millions of homes already lacking access to high speed internet, the need for fiber-optic broadband will only grow over the next several years. Increased numbers of employees working remotely could add strain to this system.
The infrastructure bill requires grant recipients to buy American made materials, with some allowances for waivers. Corning’s new facility will help companies stay in line with grant qualifications.