Company moves production to U.S. due to iFiber broadband project

DEKALB, IL (Feb. 13, 2012) - The company providing fiber optic cable to contractors constructing the iFiber network across northwest Illinois has moved production from the United Kingdom to the U.S. as a result of the project, according to company officials.   

AFL, a leading provider of fiber optic solutions for industry around the world, is providing its MicroCore® product to the iFiber project. Usually manufactured in AFL’s facility in Swindon, UK, the company moved production of MicroCore to its U.S. cable manufacturing plant in Duncan, SC, as a result of the iFiber project. 

AFL anticipates additional jobs will be created as a result of the product being manufactured in the U.S.

“This is an excellent example of how the high-speed iFiber broadband project in northwest Illinois impacts economic development not only regionally, but on a national basis,” said John L. Lewis, chairman of the iFiber board of directors. 

“AFL’s affiliation with the iFiber project and its move to production in South Carolina means increased employment opportunities for U.S. workers. Hopefully, this is a trend that will carry into other areas of broadband infrastructure improvement projects underway across the U.S.,” Lewis said.  

The iFiber project is part of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. In September 2010, Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL) as the fiscal agent, received a
$68.5 million NTIA BTOP grant to deploy an almost 900-mile network across nine counties. It includes Boone, Carroll, JoDaviess, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

iFiber was established as a not-for-profit entity in January 2011, to address current and future high-speed Internet needs of communities across northwest Illinois. The iFiber board includes representatives from NIU, LaSalle County, North Central Illinois Council of Governments, the City of Rockford, Boone County, and Blackhawk Hills RC&D.  

iFiber is a provider of extremely high speed (1Gb) network transport services to eligible public sector organizations such as schools, community colleges, libraries, healthcare facilities, municipalities, county and public safety facilities. Through its service provider partners, iFiber also will promote similar high speed network transport services to businesses and residential subscribers in the private sector. 

“AFL understands the importance of building infrastructure across the U.S.,” said Kurt Dallas, AFL’s Vice President and General Manager, Global Cable Systems. 

“Areas like those in northern Illinois are so often underserved with regard to communications services. AFL is excited to be involved in such a worthwhile project. Further, by bringing production of our MicroCore product to the U.S., we are creating jobs in a still difficult economic climate.” 

AFL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujikura. It provides industry-leading products and services to the electric utility, broadband, communications, OEM, enterprise, wireless and transit rail markets, as well as the emerging markets of oil and gas, mining, nuclear, avionics, medical, renewable and intelligent grid. 

The company’s diverse product portfolio includes fiber optic cable, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectors, fusion splicers, test equipment and training. AFL’s service portfolio includes market-leading positions with the foremost communications companies supporting both the central office and outside plant areas. 

Founded in 1984, AFL offers engineering expertise, products and service that help customers improve critical and electrical infrastructure. AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Asia. The company is headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit www.AFLglobal.com

Design engineering and permitting for the iFiber project are being coordinated by Baxter & Woodman (DeKalb, IL). Construction  of the network is being completed by PirTano Construction Company (Addison, IL) in Carroll, JoDaviess, Lee and Whiteside counties; and Aldridge Electric (Libertyville, IL), which partnered with Kelso-Burnett (Rockford, IL), in  Boone, LaSalle, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

For more information about the iFiber project, e-mail info@ifiber.org or visit www.ifiber.org

Photos and story courtesy of Kathy Siebrasse. 

Top: Rochelle High School student, Abby Zaccaria, gets a close-up look at the 144 fiber optic strands contained within the cable that is now being produced in the U.S. by AFL because of the iFiber project. 

Bottom: iFiber engineer, Kevin Finley, displays the fiber optic cable being used in the project to high school students at a Northern Illinois University STEM Outreach event in DeKalb Feb. 9. 

Abby Zaccaria looking at fiber optic cable

Kevin Finley

Tags: AFL, iFiber, John Lewis, Kathy Siebrasse, Kurt Dallas, northern illinois, Northern Illinois University

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