Corning Cable launches $40m NBN cable plant in Victoria

Corning Cable Systems Australia has begun manufacturing Altos Loose Tube Ribbon Cable at its Clayton, Victoria facilities; the cables are a crucial element of the forthcoming National Broadband Network (NBN) due to be rolled-out across the country.

The Altos Loose Tube Ribbon Cable is reportedly a key enabler of the NBN FTTH network architecture.
The localisation of the ribbon cable production is a boon for Victoria, and also a positive step for manufacturing capabilities in Australia.

Corning will reportedly invest up to $40 million in its Clayton operations, related equipment, and personnel training, all of which are keeping pace with NBN’s expected rate of deployment.

“Its compact nature allows the maximum number of fibres to be pulled through a duct or pipe while also ensuring the quickest installation times,” said Corning Cable Systems Global Carrier Networks and Customer Experience senior vice president, Kimberly Hartwell.

“Corning Cable Systems’ Altos Loose Tube Ribbon Cable should help ensure network reliability, deployment speed, and cost advantages for NBN.”

Cable production officially commenced last week during a visit from Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and Federal Member for Hotham and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development, and Local Government Simon Crean.

“By investing in the National Broadband Network, the Gillard Government is securing Australia’s economy for the future,” said Senator Conroy, during his visit to the facility.

“This includes creating 21st century manufacturing jobs like the up to three hundred to four hundred here at Corning, as well as ensuring all Australians are able to share in the benefits of fast affordable broadband.”

Crean said this investment in Clayton will provide a great economic and jobs boost for the local and Victorian economies.

“The people of Hotham can be proud that the fibre cable made here will be shipped right across Australia, helping build the NBN and allowing regional and rural Australia to access the same broadband services at the same price as the rest of the country for the first time,” he said.

Corning Cable Systems Australia managing director, Rainer Dittrich, said the company’s support for the NBN has required the transfer of its ribbon cable manufacturing technology and should continue to require further expansions in capacity and employment numbers.

“Our recent addition of two buildings gives us approximately four times our original footprint and twice the production space – as well as a significant national distribution centre,” said Dittrich.

“This is indicative of our commitment to both the NBN and the local community in which we operate. The coming months expect to  see the opening of an additional production facility and an increase in capacity at our Clayton operations for two of Corning’s hardware products key to fibre- to- the- home installation:  the FlexNAP RPX Cable Terminal Distribution System and the Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH).”

Corning Cable Systems Australia offers a range of end-to-end fibre optic and copper product solutions for telecommunications networks. Solutions include cables, connectors, and related hardware and network services.

Last year, innovation minister Senator Kim Carr announced that 400 new manufacturing jobs would be created for Australian workers following the signing of three National Broadband Network equipment contracts — one of which was Corning.

Carr said the contracts would total $1.6 billion of investment in to the NBN infrastructure. 

“The companies signing these contracts today are part of the Australian manufacturing industry. Their involvement in the NBN rollout will create jobs for Australian workers and increase the skills we have in this country,” Senator Carr said.

“Australian company Warren & Brown Technologies and Australian located global companies Prysmian and Corning will help the Government deliver the NBN through the supply of essential hardware equipment. This includes underground and aerial cable, user connection equipment, splice closures, fibre distribution hubs, optical distribution frames and sub-racks.

“These companies will help the Government build the NBN during the next five years.”

A significant number of NBN equipment contracts were sent overseas.