FBA: Tell us about your organization. What should people know about you?
Joe Jensen, Director of Market Development at Corning: Corning was the first to commercialize low-loss optical fiber over 40 years ago. Since then, further innovations in both optical cable and related connectivity have lowered barriers for optical deployments across all types of communications networks.
As a founding member of the FTTH Council, now the Fiber Broadband Association, we are passionate about helping our customers find the right solutions to make their deployments faster and easier, at a lower total cost and risk. Corning supports deployments across the globe, giving us a unique perspective to apply learnings to the evolving needs of customers. Additionally, Corning has a broad capability to help with architecture design & optimization, installation services, financing challenges, and ongoing operational best practices.
My personal hope is that as an industry we transform the world by enabling everyone to have access to affordable high quality internet regardless of where they live, work, and play.
FBA: What are you currently bringing to market?
JJ: Innovation is core to our DNA. We are constantly adding new solutions to our portfolio. As networks evolve, so do our products. Recently, we introduced 200um fiber designs which enable extreme density ribbon and micro cable designs.
Each innovation or product extension typically has a specific customer use case in mind. As an example, you’ll see new hardware products to enable high fiber count converged networks as well as new lean fiber count solutions for customers deploying in more rural areas. Be on the lookout in 2020; we will be releasing more hardware, cable, terminal, and drop options with tremendous potential to accelerate deployments, improve network performance and minimize costs.
FBA: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the fiber industry today? What is your advice for overcoming it?
JJ: The cost to deploy FTTX has been and will continue to be one of the biggest challenges our industry faces. By and large, lower cost aerial deployments in urban and suburban areas have been addressed already. Tackling the less dense rural areas is certainly more challenging.
What works well in dense urban deployments won’t work well for rural builds and vice versa. With an estimated 80-90M North America homes lacking a fiber broadband option, we and the larger telecom ecosystem must find economic ways to bring fiber to the people in these underserved communities. At Corning, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to reduce costs and improve network building efficiencies so that more of us have access to affordable fiber broadband.
The best advice I would have for network providers is to seek out partners that can help them identify a solution that best fits their unique needs while finding the right balance of upfront and long-term costs.
FBA: What excites you about the future of fiber?
JJ: As I look back on my 20 years in the industry, I don’t think I can recall a time when I felt like fiber was better positioned as the go-to medium for communications networks. Next-generation PON technologies provide much higher levels of bandwidth enabling convergence of residential and business networks. 5G offers enhanced mobile broadband (among other great benefits) and these networks will run on high-speed fiber connections. Lastly, in-building networks (think large enterprises, hospitals, hotels, or campuses) are investigating fiber in the horizontal where traditionally copper cables have dominated. This extension of fiber changes how FTTX networks are designed and built, with X’s scoping from homes and businesses to small cells, farms, operating rooms, suites, or classrooms. As I look at the next 20 years, I expect IoT applications, sensing technologies, and 5G backhaul to continue to push fiber deeper and deeper into the areas we live and work.
FBA: What’s your favorite show to stream with your fiber connection?
JJ: Funny you should ask. I live in rural America and unfortunately don’t have access to a fiber connection; or any true broadband connection. This fuels my passion – somewhat selfishly. However, when I do get a fiber connection, I’ll be the first to cut the cord and you’ll find me watching pretty much anything related to woodworking, log cabins, or off-grid living.