STL Opens South Carolina Fiber Cable Plant

The $100 million plant was announced in June 2023 as part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to America.

STL Opens South Carolina Fiber Cable Plant
Photo of the Lugoff, South Carolina plant

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2023 – STL on Friday opened a new fiber-optic cable manufacturing plant in Lugoff, South Carolina.

The India-based company, which is officially Sterlite Technologies Limited, announced a $100 million investment in the plant after Narendra Modi, the country’s prime minister, visited with President Joe Biden in June of this year.

According to the company, the plant will facilitate $150 million annually in optical fiber exports from India.

The company is one of several to announce investments in American fiber-optic cable manufacturing, with major manufacturer Corning announcing a new North Carolina plant in June and Prysmian converting a Tennessee plant from copper to cable production.

Nokia also announced in August a Wisconsin plant that will manufacture electronic components necessary for deploying fiber networks.

The investments can be attributed in part to a provision of the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act: The Build America, Buy America rule, which places two requirements on federally funded projects. It requires that 55 percent of the component cost must be spent with American suppliers, and materials must be manufactured in the United States.

Ahead of the disbursement of funds under the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program, broadband providers will be looking to source infrastructure equipment from vendors that comply with the rule.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is proposing a partial waiver to the BABA rule for BEAD-funded projects. The waiver would do away with the 55 percent component cost rule, as the semiconductors and integrated circuits that make up much of the cost of fiber equipment are manufactured in Southeast Asia.

The comment period for the proposed waiver is open until September 21.

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