Fiber connections provide users with very fast, reliable internet. But, only 43% of U.S. households have access to a fiber internet connection. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that passed in November 2021 promises to bridge this digital divide, with $65 billion dedicated to expanding access to broadband internet to all Americans. Such government support, along with a number of other factors, have caused a spike in the demand for fiber products. CNBC visited Corning, the world’s largest manufacturer of optical fiber and North America’s largest producer of fiber optic cables to understand the technology behind fiber-optic internet and how the market for fiber products is changing.
Fiber-based networks make up the majority of the internet’s backbone. Fiber-optic subsea cables spanning thousands of miles connect 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 making their way directly into peoples’ homes, providing them with fast, reliable internet. But, only 43% of U.S. households have access to a fiber internet connection.
“In some instances, particularly in rural areas and very challenging geographies, it can be prohibitively expensive to 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.
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