Backed by AT&T demand, Corning to build optical cable manufacturing plant in Arizona

Aug. 30, 2022
The plant, which Corning expects to open in 2024, will also help serve customers in the Western U.S. and Canada.

Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) says that it will build a cable manufacturing plant in Gilbert, AZ. The company says the plant will meet increased demand for broadband fiber plant, particularly as a result of what it termed “a long-term relationship with AT&T (NYSE: T).”

The plant, which Corning expects to open in 2024, will also help serve customers in the Western U.S. and Canada. The company expects to employ approximately 250 people at the site.

AT&T and Corning announced a long-term supply partnership last September (see “AT&T locks down fiber supply from Corning”). At the time, Corning said AT&T’s commitment would provide the backing to expand capacity in its Hickory, NC, facility. With the new plant now in its plans as well, Corning says it has invested more than $500 million to nearly double its fiber and cable manufacturing capacity “supported by customer commitments.”

“We believe access to broadband means access to opportunity – from education to healthcare to quality of life,” said Corning Chairman and CEO Wendell P. Weeks. “Corning is doing our part to make sure everyone – regardless of where they live – has access to reliable, high-speed connections enabled by optical fiber. We are proud to continue partnering with AT&T and to expand U.S. manufacturing capacity and train the next generation of American workers – and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with our customers and with the U.S. government to make this a reality.”

“This investment is a significant step forward for our country and building world-class broadband networks that will help narrow the nation’s digital divide,” added AT&T CEO John Stankey. “This new facility will provide additional optical cable capacity to meet the record demand the industry is seeing for fast, reliable connectivity. We are also working with Corning to create training programs to equip the next generation of technicians with the skills to build the networks that will expand high-speed internet access to millions of Americans.”

Industry associations applauded the deal as a sign of a growing commitment to expanded broadband opportunity. “We are at the beginning of the largest fiber-optics investment cycle in history as our nation works to build the critical broadband infrastructure of the future,” said Gary Bolton, president and CEO at the Fiber Broadband Association. “Today’s announcement by Corning is significant for our industry as it helps address the record demand for optical cable, as the industry comes together to build and deploy the future-ready fiber networks that will bring reliable, affordable high-speed internet to more Americans, regardless of where they live. Importantly, the capacity being added by Corning will be in place in time to support network buildouts funded by the federal government’s $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.”

“Fifty years after Corning invented optical fiber, and with millions of miles of fiber deployed, the need for optical fiber-based services continues to grow,” added Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) CEO David Stehlin. “This significant manufacturing investment will increase product availability and support the exciting U.S. government grant programs intended to bring broadband access to all Americans.”

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About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

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