Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

If there’s an overarching concept dominating 2024, it’s that big things are coming. Highly touted BEAD funding and lesser-hyped private investments are priming the pump for many years of network infrastructure construction that will change the economic and social landscape of America and the world.

Four key trends – call them predictions, forecasts, or obvious necessities – are taking place as communities, governments, and the industry prepare to leverage over $100 billion in infrastructure investment.

  1. Integration and onshoring: Today, companies have a greater urgency to own their manufacturing processes and integrate their supply chains. Challenges from a global pandemic, continuing climate change and its dance partner of extreme weather uncertainty, and the specter of geopolitical conflicts aren’t going away. Buy America, Build America (BABA) provisions are leading more vendors of equipment and fiber cable to invest in local domestic manufacturing, improving their operating leverage as they line up to be a part of the wave of new fiber networks.
  1. Maximizing fiber’s potential: Fiber to the home and 5G backhaul are the tip of the full fiber network “iceberg.” Operators and local governments will build on fiber’s foundation for smart city innovations such as connected vehicles and enhanced public safety, with artificial intelligence and machine learning adding substantial enhancements. Clearfield expects telcos and cloud leaders to continue to invest in Smart City solutions.
  2. Workforce development: Building fiber networks in a timely and cost-effective manner will require an “all of workforce” solution to address the labor needs of service providers. Training new workers through educational programs such as Clearfield College or Fiber Broadband Association’s OpTIC Path, and to increase the size of the workforce is clearly part of the solution, as is adopting labor-lite solutions and leveraging product efficiencies to help advance deployments with the workforce that is available.
  3. Shift focus to Homes Connected: We anticipate more service providers to migrate to connected homes as a key metric of success. Homes passed does not generate revenue, while homes connected demonstrates to civic leaders that the digital divide is being closed, and to Wall Street that investment in capital projects is generating returns. The urgency to connect homes faster will lead to more service providers transitioning away from legacy skilled-labor methods and actively embracing the most efficient technologies and products in the market that will connect homes faster with fewer resources.

I’m looking forward to 2024 as the start of a very busy and productive boom in fiber network construction over the next several years. As the industry continues to grow, we at Clearfield will continue to deliver innovative technology, techniques, and methods to increase the speed of fiber installation while lowering total cost.

Kevin leads the marketing efforts for Clearfield as Chief Marketing Officer. He joined the fiber company in 2016, leveraging his extensive experience in advanced communications technology, fiber optic systems, and business product marketing. Prior to joining Clearfield, he spent two decades serving in various senior marketing positions at ADTRAN. Before that, he spent a decade at telephone operating company BellSouth, now a part of AT&T, where he worked as the lead broadband product evaluations resource in the Science & Technology department.

Morgan currently serves on the Fiber Broadband Association Senior Council Committee and has also held various leadership positions at the Fiber Broadband Association, including Board of Directors Chair for 2015, 2019, and 2022. Morgan holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Alabama.