Underscoring the invaluable role of fiber as the backbone of ultra-broadband and 5G networks, Italian energy and telecom cables systems provider Prysmian today disclosed a three-year, $300 million contract to supply Verizon with fiber.
The move comes less than three weeks after Verizon inked a $1.03 billion contract to purchase fiber optic cable and related hardware from Corning. The two deals suggest Verizon -- at least for now -- has decided building out more fiber itself is the better option than acquiring it from other companies in the quest for fiber backhaul. (See Verizon's Fiber Spend Won't End with Corning.)
"This strategic supply agreement helps ensure we can ramp supply in order to expand our network capacity and speed 5G deployment," said Viju Menon, Verizon's chief supply chain officer, in a statement.
In each case, Verizon will use the acquired fiber-optic cable as part of its continued expansion of a fiber platform designed for 5G deployment, to enhance 4G LTE wireless and empower the service provider to deliver additional broadband offerings. The contract also demonstrates Verizon's commitment to NG-PON2, said Philippe Vanhille, senior vice president of telecom at Prysmian Group, in a statement.
"Both Prysmian and Verizon feel strongly that demand and supply for the next-generation passive optical network (NG-PON) will last well beyond 2020 as new technologies like 5G and the IoT become reality," he said.
NG-PON2 allows service providers to mix-and-match vendor equipment on the network, said Vincent O'Byrne, director of technology, in an interview with UBB2020 earlier this month. "We can assign different wavelengths to one vendor, then another, so you can have for example, Calix and ADTRAN on the same fiber, supporting different wavelengths, going to different customers," he said. "It offers us an awful lot of flexibility which reduces the outside plant sizing."
To support the contract, Prysmian plans to expand its operations in the United States. It currently operates three plants; one produces optical fiber, while the other two produce optical cable. The new US-based operation will work with material-management services from partners that are owned and operated by certified woman-business enterprises, Prysmian said.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.