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Home / Company / Company Profile / News / 2021 News / AFL Opens New Fibre Optic Cable Manufacturing Facility in Swindon, UK

AFL Opens New Fibre Optic Cable Manufacturing Facility in Swindon, UK

11/15/2021

Swindon, UK and Spartanburg, SC – AFL, a subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd., Japan, officially opened its new fibre optic cable facility in Swindon, Wiltshire, marking the start of commercial production of Fujikura’s Air Blown Wrapping Tube Cable (AB-WTC) using SpiderWeb Ribbon® (SWR®) fibre technology in the UK. AB-WTC is an ultra-high density outside plant cable designed specifically for Fibre-to-the-Home and access network applications. AFL’s new facility in Swindon is the first factory in the UK and Europe to produce this type of fibre optic cable.

AFL's New Swindon UK Manufacturing Facility 

This investment in cable production in the UK for its European customers, such as Openreach, AFL will help speed up rollouts of full fibre broadband in support of the UK government’s target for 85 per cent of UK premises to have access to gigabit-broadband by 20251.
 
Paul Bennett, General Manager of AFL in Swindon, says the new facility builds on AFL and Fujikura’s presence in the UK and their commitment to delivering projects in Europe.
 
Paul explains, “This new cable technology allows us to manufacture high fibre count, high density fibre optic cables that are much quicker to install than conventional fibre optic cables. This technology is an exciting innovation in the industry; we are delighted that we will now be producing it in the UK, at our Swindon plant, where we have a strong, skilled workforce, and a long manufacturing history. AFL’s further investment in Swindon is not only significant for network rollouts and upgrades, but because we’ve added state-of-the-art equipment, also enables us to increase cable production.”
 
Fibre optic cables produced in the facility on Radway Road will be supplied to major UK and European network infrastructure projects that AFL and Fujikura customers are building. Fujikura’s investment in the facility will create new jobs in Swindon and the surrounding region including highly skilled engineering roles.
 
Fujikura is a world leader in the production of fibre optic cables and associated equipment for installation, measurement and testing. It is synonymous with fibre optic fusion splicers and has been operating in Europe for more than 30 years.
 
At the official opening ceremony, guests were welcomed by Paul Bennett and given a tour of the new facility. Guests were also addressed by Masahiko Ito, President and CEO of Fujikura Ltd. and Jody Gallagher, President and CEO of AFL. In attendance were H.E. Mr. Hajime Hayashi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from the Embassy of Japan in the UK, senior representatives of Openreach, and the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Gary Perkins.
 
Jody Gallagher, also a Director on Fujikura Limited’s Board, commented, “The introduction of Fujikura’s new fibre optic cable technology in Swindon comes at a key point in the rollout of full fibre broadband in the UK. Network operators and engineers have been making fantastic progress on projects to upgrade the network infrastructure and its capability–something which has become ever more important as the demand and need for fast, reliable connectivity increases with remote working and remote education. With our new plant in Swindon, we are able to improve the reliability of supply of fibre optic cables to customers and provide even greater customer service.”
 
Openreach, a communications provider, has been installing fibre optic cabling supplied by Fujikura since 2019. Speaking of the importance of the new plant to its rollout of 1Gbps FTTP (Fibre to the Premises), Andy Whale, Managing Director and Chief Engineer of Openreach said, “Our £15 billion network upgrade is hugely important, because research shows that nationwide full fibre broadband could add £59 billion to the economy every year, help level-up the UK, and bring around one million people back into work."

Whale continued, “At Openreach, we intend to build the furthest, fastest and to the highest quality of any network builder in the UK, and to do that we’re forming strong partnerships with innovative companies like AFL and Fujikura. We're already investing heavily in the South West where 3,400 Openreach people live and work and we're delighted our investment now extends to supporting local jobs and growth in our supply chain."
 
For more information about Fujikura Europe, visit www.fujikura.co.uk and to learn more about AFL, visit www.AFLglobal.com.
 
About Fujikura Ltd.
Headquartered in Tokyo and established in 1885, Fujikura has a 136-year history of providing products and services in its core business areas, which include telecommunications, electronics and automotive markets. Today, in the field of telecommunications, Fujikura is a global technology pioneer and a leading manufacturer of optical cables, fibres, and connectivity solutions for network installation, measurement, and testing. Fujikura’s decades-long involvement in the development of fibre optics and its innovative approach to specialist technologies has allowed it to pioneer a range of products and solutions in diverse global markets.
 
Fujikura's mission is to create exceptional value for its customers using "Tsunagu" (meaning connecting in Japanese) technologies. Fujikura is dedicated to providing extraordinary services and solutions, earning its customers' trust, and contributing to society.
 
About AFL
Founded in 1984, AFL is an international manufacturer providing end-to-end solutions to the electric utilities, wireline and wireless network operators, cloud content providers, and enterprise markets as well as industrial markets which support oil and gas, mining, defence and more. The company’s products are in use in over 130 countries and include fibre optic cable and hardware, transmission, rail transit OCS and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectivity, test and inspection equipment, fusion splicers and training. AFL also offers a wide variety of services supporting data centre, enterprise, wireless and outside plant applications.
 
Headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina, AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit www.AFLglobal.com. Follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and read our blog.
 
About Fujikura Europe
Fujikura has been represented in Europe for over 30 years, and in 1988 established Fujikura Europe Ltd as a European base of operations in South West London. Fujikura Europe has grown considerably in the last ten years and its headquarters in Chessington, Surrey, house the company's European sales administrative offices, technical support centre and service repair workshops.
 
For further information about Fujikura Europe and its products, please visit www.fujikura.co.uk or contact Simon Greenacre, Marketing Coordinator at Fujikura Europe on +44 (0)208 240 2000 or sgreenacre@fujikura.co.uk.
 
[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-infrastructure-strategy
 

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