back to article Price, lead times and scarcity of fiber optics may derail projects

The price of fiber optic cables is shooting up, more than doubling in just 16 months due to massive demand from datacenter and network providers with supply shortfall exacerbated by disruption in production. According to market researcher Cru Group, average prices have soared from record lows of $3.70 per fiber kilometer in …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Given that the cost of deployment has suddenly doubled

    No it hasn't. If the fiber only costs a pint/km (a new unified Brexit/Eu unit) then it probably has bugger all effect on the cost of digging a trench, laying fibre, terminating it and putting flashing lights on the end.

    Its like saying the cost of handlebar mustache oil has doubled so doubling the RAF budget.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Given that the cost of deployment has suddenly doubled

      Agreed.

      The cost of the least expensive element has doubled. So ?

      You're going to be spending a lot more on all those people and machines who have to actually make it happen.

      Sure, margins are going to be slightly tighter. The marketing guy might not get his full bonus. The client might find that there is a bit more to pay.

      But it costs a hell of alot to more to dig a ten kilometer trench that it does to lay fiber at double the price of 3 bucks per kilometer.

      Let's dial the hysteria down a bit, shall we ?

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Pint

      cost of handlebar mustache oil has doubled so doubling the RAF budget.

      Sir! You deserve a pint for that alone!

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Given that the cost of deployment has suddenly doubled

      The article also mentions the price has gone up over the "all time low" in March 2021. I wonder how the current cost compares to the cost in July 2019, before covid screwed up both supply and demand all over the world?

      That's like comparing current oil prices to the historic lows seen in the wake of the pandemic when worldwide demand cratered in an unprecedented fashion. Sure, they've gone up compared to where they were pre-pandemic, but not nearly so much as if you compare them to when they were briefly negative!

      I honestly would have guessed fiber costs a lot more than $6 per kilometer, so it still sounds pretty damn cheap to me. Obviously you don't need to 'trench' when deploying inside a datacenter, but the cost of people to pull and terminate the fiber will still totally dwarf the cost of the fiber itself.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Given that the cost of deployment has suddenly doubled

        Typically UK telcos charge a customer about £30/m for installing fibre in soft ground and around £120/m for tarmac surfaces. So £30,000/km minimum and it puts the price of the actual fibre that is in the buried duct in to perspective!

  2. bigtreeman

    not this little black duck

    For fucking yeah. FTTP

    Fibre is being rolled out in our town NOW.

    They were coming up our street yesterday and should go past our gate today.

    Phoning my ISP today.

    We have suffered the Malcolm Turdbull NBN fuckup for too long.

    I'm not concerned about the price per kilometer. The real cost installed is way different to that.

    The first part of the upgrade was checking and clearing the conduits which seem to have been in good order because they didn't have to dig.

    Now it' seems to be a pretty swift cable pull.

  3. ThatOne Silver badge
    WTF?

    The world is ending! Buy NOW!

    > scarcity of fiber optics

    It's because of the high copper prices.

    Now seriously, what's with this constant FUD about almost everything electronic being/becoming scarce? We had occasional bottlenecks in the past (for instance because some big plant got damaged by fire/flood) but it usually only took a couple months to get back to normal. Since the pandemic it seems that sales people got to like handling scarcity. Now, even though the pandemic is more or less under control, suddenly everything is getting scarce, and we're promised things will get worse, much worse, before the (sticky) end.

    I'd say, lets take bets what is going to be the next item to get scarce...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The world is ending! Buy NOW!

      Because of lockdown nobody went on holiday and so no buckets of sand were brought back from the beach to make the fibre

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The world is ending! Buy NOW!

      A cynical and suspicious person might think various suppliers are shouting "scarcity!" and "supply chain!" whenever they want to juice their prices (and profits) a little without actually changing anything.

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