I’ve been fielding phone calls from Clearfield shareholders and investors about the Google Fiber announcement made on Tuesday, October 25th. Since there was so much interest that a significant number of people thought they needed to call me, I figured there were 100 times that number of people that had the same questions. To be clear, I have no knowledge of Google’s intentions or business plans – only those people who make those decisions can have insight into them. But, I do have personal opinions. So like any good blogger, I couldn’t help but share them –

  • First opinion – Google is a for profit business.
  • Second opinion – Google Fiber, like thousands of start-up businesses before it, is pre-profit.
  • Third opinion – Sometimes adjustments need to be made along the way.

As a business person, I take great pride in the fact that Clearfield has been profitable in every year of its existence and in a few weeks, we’ll post the numbers for the fourth quarter of our 9th fiscal year. Along the way, we’ve had to made adjustments.

It’s no secret that optical fiber is a capital intensive undertaking. 

It’s also no secret that every network is different — particularly in the last mile. For instance, digging in the trenches isn’t the same in every community – there may be sand in Florida, clay in Virginia and silt in Alaska. Therefore, network design at the last mile requires the service provider to address various factors influenced by location – rural versus urban; ground type – is there rock, soil, clay or sand; first build cost preferences; network operations and maintenance. Each individual characteristic will indicate the architecture that is best suited to deliver fiber. Even with a good understanding of these overall requirements for the fiber build, a service provider will run into roadblocks.

Roadblocks are opportunities to reassess and improve. In the nine years of Clearfield, we’ve introduced many new innovations. Our latest, the YOURx platform is specifically designed to remove the roadblocks associated with first-cost deployment. We’re excited about what the product line can do for the industry.

As Google Fiber continues the support of their existing fiber community build-outs while evaluating and trialing alternative technologies, we and others in our industry will work with the hundreds of traditional wireline, cable, municipal utilities, and yes, even wireless companies, to push forward with their planned fiber deployments.

In fact, the FTTH Council just announced this week that FTTH buildouts are up 18% in North America in the last 12 months with 45% of homes passed with fiber taking service – that’s exciting news.