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Verizon signs billion-dollar deal with Corning for 37.2M miles of fiber for LTE, 5G

Verizon said the three-year, $1.05 billion agreement includes up to 12.4 million miles of fiber per year to support One Fiber initiative behind LTE, 5G enhancements.

Verizon Communications is set to bolster the backhaul of its wireless network through a three-year, $1.05 billion contract signed with Corning to supply fiber optic cable and associated hardware for Verizon’s One Fiber initiative.

The deal calls for Corning to provide up to 12.4 million miles of optical fiber per year from 2018 through 2020. The equipment is to be part of Verizon’s network architecture designed to improve LTE coverage and set the table for planned “5G” technology deployments.

“Our plans identified a shortfall in fiber supply, and Verizon has been working with business teams to forecast demand and fill supply gaps with existing suppliers,” said Viju Menon, chief supply chain officer at Verizon, in a statement on the deal. “Securing the required volume of optical fiber and hardware solutions with Corning will ensure we meet our planned rollout schedules.”

The carrier cited its ongoing work in deploying fiber assets across Boston, which will see Verizon spend $300 million over a six-year period as part of the network enhancement project. The Boston project includes work with the city allowing for new pole attachment agreements for light and utility infrastructure, and is set to support launch of the carrier’s FiOS TV service.

Nearby Brockton, Massachusetts, is one of the initial 11 markets where Verizon said it plans to trial 5G technology beginning this month as it continues to progress its next-generation network efforts. The trials are set to use millimeter wave spectrum bands, with a service focus on providing wireless internet access and voice over IP calling. Other markets included in the initial trials are Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Sacramento, California; Seattle; and Washington, D.C.

For Corning, the deal looks set to help fund recently announced plans to invest more than $250 million in its optical fiber, cable and solutions manufacturing facilities “to help meet the demand of its global carrier and enterprise customers.” The company said it expects capacity expansion work to begin this year and become fully operational in 2018.

“We are pleased that Verizon recognizes the value of Corning’s innovative solutions in deploying next-generation converged optical infrastructure … more quickly and cost effectively,” explained Clark Kinlin, EVP at Corning, in a statement. “Verizon’s purchase commitment supports necessary capacity investments across our manufacturing footprint.”

Corning recently announced plans to work with Altiostar to combine its Optical Network Evolution product into Altiostar’s virtualized radio access network solution. Corning said its ONE solution is designed to replace aggregation electronics and associated copper cables with passive optical splitters and single-mode fibers to support cellular, Wi-Fi and Ethernet for the enterprise.

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