It's 2022 and the fact that millions of Americans still don't have access to broadband internet seems ... obsolete. Up to 18 million U.S. households still don't have access to high-speed internet.
The U.S. government recently made some $42.5 billion available as part of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill to make broadband connectivity more accessible and it looks like Corning wants a piece of the action. The company yesterday announced plans to build a new optical cable manufacturing plant in Gilbert, Arizona.
The plant is scheduled to open in 2024 and will supply AT&T, America's largest fiber internet provider.
The specific Gilbert investment wasn’t disclosed, but, according to the company, its fiber and cable manufacturing investments will eclipse $500 million since 2020 and double Corning's supply capacity.
The factory will create 250 new jobs and is designed to be able to expand if necessary.
AT&T expects demand to grow five times over the next five years. In a separate announcement, the company said it is deploying fiber internet service to the Mesa, Arizona, area starting in 2023.
To build and deploy these networks, the industry will need about 850,000 workers through 2025. Corning and AT&T together have created the Fiber Optic Training Program, focused on equipping thousands of technicians with the skills critical to designing, installing and maintaining a growing fiber network. The program aims to train 50,000 American workers over the next five years.