Nokia and Fabrinet Collaborate to Manufacture Fiber Broadband Optical Modules in U.S. for BEAD Program

Nokia has unveiled plans to produce fiber broadband optical modules in the United States, supporting the nation’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
Nokia Sandy Motley
Finland-based Nokia did not reveal its investment plans in the United States. Nokia has lost considerable business in North America in the recent quarter due to reduction in Capex by leading telecom operators.

The company has teamed up with Fabrinet, a global leader in precision optical products, to manufacture multi-rate optical modules at Fabrinet’s facility in Santa Clara, California. This strategic partnership is set to commence production in 2024, contributing to the creation of high-tech employment opportunities within the country.

This announcement marks an expansion of Nokia’s efforts, following its prior decision to manufacture fiber-optic broadband network electronic products in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The production of optical modules, a pivotal component of advanced fiber broadband networks, plays a vital role in converting electrical signals into light and vice versa. These modules are essential for delivering high-speed, multi-gigabit broadband connections to homes.

By establishing local manufacturing capabilities for optical modules in the U.S., Nokia is bolstering its portfolio of products and solutions tailored for network rollouts supported by BEAD funding and other similar initiatives. States and stakeholders looking to participate in BEAD, which boasts a substantial $42.45 billion fund allocation for unserved and underserved community broadband expansion, must deploy equipment manufactured within the United States.

The convergence of Nokia’s cutting-edge technology and the BEAD program provides operators with an invaluable resource to bridge the digital divide. In North America, over 70 percent of fiber broadband lines are powered by Nokia’s solutions.

The utilization of multi-rate optical modules empowers operators to seamlessly upgrade speeds from 1 Gig to Multi-Gig, further supported by Nokia’s pioneering 25G solutions and ongoing research into 100G technology. This concerted effort ensures that the fiber networks constructed by operators will fulfill evolving user demands for generations to come.

Sandy Motley, President of Fixed Networks at Nokia, expressed her enthusiasm for this milestone achievement, stating, “Many in the industry have said that manufacturing optical modules in the U.S. was impossible. Today, we’re proving it can be done.”

Harpal Gill, President and COO of Fabrinet, shared his excitement about the partnership: “As a trusted partner of the world’s most demanding OEMs, we are excited to help bring the production of Nokia’s optical modules to the U.S. and support their efforts to bridge the digital divide.”

Nokia’s commitment to manufacturing within the U.S. extends beyond the partnership with Fabrinet. The company has already entered a collaboration with Sanmina Corporation to produce fiber-optic broadband network electronics products and optical modules in Pleasant Prairie, Kenosha County, Wisconsin. This move is expected to create up to 200 new jobs, further fortifying Nokia’s role in advancing the nation’s broadband connectivity goals through the BEAD program.