Today, fiber optic cables are also rare. Europe is one of the countries affected by this new problem

As internet access grows and society moves towards digital transformation, technology companies and governments seek to improve and expand connectivity to drive technological development in different fields. A key part of this expansion is fiber opticsand now it is rare, although the difficulty of obtaining it is greater for some than for others.

According to the Financial Timesthis problem is directly related to the lack of some critical elements for the manufacture of fiber optic cables, such as helium and silicon tetrachloride. In this scenario, when one of these elements is reached, it does so at a much higher price than normal, so the final price of the product increases, leaving it within the reach of the most powerful players on the plan. economic.

From the scarcity of microchips to fiber optics

Supply chains live in complex times. Barely we are coming out of a chip shortagewhich has resulted in the difficulty of purchasing certain devices such as the computer, cars there video game consolesthat we already see a new problem on the horizon, which this time can affect the most modern communication infrastructures, such as expansion of 5G networks.

Today, optical fiber is present almost everywhere. Not only in homes with a high-speed Internet connection, but also in data centers, telecommunications nodes and intercontinental submarine cables, to name just a few examples. This technology is widely used because it allows data transmission over long distances, offers high bandwidth and is immune to electromagnetic interference.

According Raw Groupa market analysis company quoted by the Financial Times, helium, which is a key component for the manufacture of glass filaments used in the composition of fiber optic cables, increased by 135% over the past two years due to production disruptions at plants in the United States and Russia. Silicon tetrachloride, another key element, increased up to 50%.

Thomas Jensen Isg Ruel0uw Unsplash

However, according to Wendell Weeks, executive director of the world’s largest producer of fiber optic cables, Corning, this situation has a greater impact in certain regions of the world. Europe, China and India are the most affectedwhile in the United States, prices suffered less increases.

But there is more. The context of rarity does not disappear. Now, according to the American newspaper, companies have begun to prioritize orders. Thus, the most important customers, that is to say the large technological companies, are the first to receive this crucial element for their development. Small customers, on the other hand, suffer delays of a few weeks to almost a year to receive your orders.

This combination of factors, according to Cru Group, could delay many communications infrastructure expansion projects and even prevent them from achieving their goals, which “could impact global connectivity”.

Pictures | Patrick Turner (Splash)

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