The world is running out of fiber optic cables and it is more serious than you think

The world is running out of fiber optic cables and it is more serious than you think

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The lack of components in various industries has been a constant during the last two years due to the COVID pandemic. Now a new member joins the list and threatens telecommunications head on. In accordance with Financial Times, the world faces a shortage of fiber optic cablewhich has skyrocketed the cost in Europe and other countries.

The crisis is due to there is a price increase in critical fiber optic componentsAs the silicon tetrachloride. According to the market intelligence firm, Cru, this element is key in production and its price has increased by up to 50%. The heliumanother important part, also suffered an increase of 135% due to the closure of some production plants in the United States and Russia.

The shortage of components and the increasing demand for connections is a bad combination. Cru estimates that the consumption of fiber optic cable increased by 8.1% during the first half of the year. While companies like Google, Microsoft or Amazon expand their data centers, governments seek to speed up the deployment of 5G in their countries. The problem is that the fiber optic kilometer went from 3.62 euros to 6.16 euros. This represents 70% more compared to what it cost in March 2021.

Michael Finch, an analyst at Cru, considers that the price increase in fiber optic cables will impact global connectivity. Corning, one of the world’s largest producers of this technology, revealed that it is speeding up manufacturing to meet demand from governments and communications companies. Wendell Weeks, CEO of the company, said that he had never seen anything like this inflation crisis.

Europe, one of the regions most affected by the shortage

Photo: Mika Baumeister

Fiber optic cable manufacturers, such as Corning or STL, are prioritizing their most important customers. Although companies like Amazon, Google or Microsoft could come out of this shortage well, small and medium-sized companies are already feeling it. The delivery terms for the less fortunate extend from 20 weeks to a year, and the producers establish special clauses in which they define that the final cost could increase.

The regions most affected by the fiber optic shortage are Europe, China and India. Finch revealed that there are doubts about his countries will be able to meet the targets set for infrastructure construction. Let us remember that this technology is not only used in data centers, but also in the submarine cables that connect the world. Unable to expand, companies would have to delay their plans for connectivity or cloud-based services.

Why is fiber optics important?

fiber optic cables are an essential part of communications today. Its technology allows high-speed internet connections and efficient data transfer, especially in a time when teleworking has become a necessity. Most companies have migrated to fiber optic-based networks due to the immediacy in which information is transmitted between their equipment.

The use of these cables is not limited to the internet or 5G, since also used in the medical industry. Fiber optics is an essential part of the laparoscope, an instrument used in minimally invasive surgeries. Other diagnostic devices, such as flexible endoscopesuse fiber optic cables to illuminate and capture images of our digestive system.

The automotive industry uses fiber optics for lighting inside the car and in electronic security systems. We see another application of this technology in public lighting, decorative lighting and emergency stations.

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