Nokia expands manufacturing of BEAD fibre broadband optical modules

Just days after becoming the first telecom company to announce the manufacturing of fibre-optic broadband network electronics products and optical modules in the US for use in the broadband equity, access and deployment (BEAD) programme, Nokia has announced the expansion of its “network-in-a-box” program to provide essential network infrastructure products in a single bundle that operators and BEAD participants need to quickly build or scale broadband networks.

Putting the launch into context, Nokia said that optical modules are a key high-tech component of fibre broadband networks, and that bringing high-speed access to households or communities is an intricate process that can challenge the most experienced broadband network builders. Operators need to be able to source a wide range of components and networking equipment all while ensuring their quality and compatibility.

By manufacturing these optical modules in the US, Nokia said it was continuing to expand its list of products and offerings for network roll-outs using BEAD or other funding. States and infrastructure players seeking to participate in BEAD and the $42.45bn of available funding allocated for broadband roll-outs to unserved and under-served communities are required to use equipment manufactured in the US.

In addition, the comms tech provider noted that operators seeking to take advantage of BEAD funding to bridge the digital divide that exists in the US now have access to the latest cutting-edge technology for their deployments.

Using multi-rate optical modules and products allows operators to easily upgrade speeds from 1 Gig to multi-gig. Combined with its 25G offerings and research into 100G technology, Nokia said such a deployment ensures that operators are building fibre networks that will meet user requirements for “generations to come”, making it easy to build small greenfield fibre networks or cap existing GPON networks and grow to XGS and 25G-PON.

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The network-in-a-box programme is designed to provide essential network infrastructure products in a single bundle that operators and BEAD participants may need to quickly build or scale broadband networks.

The pre-packaged services are configurable according to an individual network build and are available to ship directly, and include Nokia’s IP routing, Fiber OLT, Fiber ONT and Wi-Fi beacon products along with software and services that make it easy for operators of all sizes to build their fibre broadband networks.

The news comes just days after Nokia has announced a partnership with opto-electronics firm Fabrinet. Starting in 2024, Nokia’s next generation, multi-rate optical modules for Optical Line Terminals will be produced at Fabrinet’s manufacturing facility, located in Santa Clara, California. The announcement builds on Nokia’s previous decision to produce fibre-optic broadband network electronic products in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Sandy Motley, president of fixed networks at Nokia, said: “Many in the industry have said that manufacturing optical modules in the US was impossible … we’re proving it can be done. Working alongside the Department of Commerce and Fabrinet, we’re excited to add optical modules to the list of technology solutions that will be produced here in the US and become available to programs like BEAD which are so critical to bridging the digital divide.”

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