Fiber-based networks make up the majority of the Internet’s backbone. Undersea fiber-optic cables stretching thousands of miles link continents together, exchanging data at nearly the speed of light. Meanwhile, the massive data centers that host all of our cloud-based applications also rely on fiber connections. Increasingly, these fiber connections are going directly into people’s homes, providing them with fast and reliable internet. But only 43% of American households have access to a fiber internet connection.
“In some cases, especially in rural areas and very challenging geographies, it can be extremely expensive to deploy fiber and it can be very expensive for households to pay for it,” says Julija Jurkevic, a senior research analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. .
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act passed in November 2021 promises to bridge this digital divide, with $65 billion dedicated to expanding broadband Internet access to all Americans. Such government support, along with a number of other factors, have caused an increase in demand for fiber products.
To understand the technology behind fiber optic Internet and how the market for fiber products is changing, CNBC visited Corning’s fiber optic and cable manufacturing facilities in North Carolina. Best known as the maker of Gorilla Glass for the iPhone, Corning is also the world’s largest producer of optical fibers by production capacity and market share, and the largest producer of fiber cables in North America. In the second quarter of 2022, Corning revealed that the optical communications business was its largest segment by revenue, reaching sales of $1.3 billion.
Watch the video to learn more.