Fiber Supply Constraints: Be prepared
October 15, 2020
Fiber Supply Constraints: Be Prepared
Over the last year, fiber lead times have been increasing as broadband deployments ramp up nationwide. VPS anticipates these lead times increasing even further as many federal and state grant and support programs come to fruition. Additionally, there are more yet-to-be-announced funding programs on the horizon that will further exacerbate the situation. Cumulatively, these programs will increase demand for construction materials and labor to a point the industry has not yet seen in its history. Price increases and shortages will likely be common. Without proper early planning, your project timeline and costs may be seriously affected by these shortages.
We’re hearing from vendors that certain types of fiber ordered after the end of the year will not be available until 2022. To minimize impacts on your upcoming project, VPS strongly recommends arranging for materials as soon as possible.
In the past, it was common to have detailed engineering completed and then sent to contractors for a bid on labor and materials. In this process, exact summaries of units were calculated so the contractor would know exactly what they need to supply. This detailed engineering is essential for a successful project, but it takes time to complete and delays the material procurement. In the current industry environment where lead times are growing longer each week, that is time you may not have.
VPS strongly recommends identifying and reserving/ordering at least some of the necessary materials as soon as possible. This will be an imperfect system, but will be the best way to avoid significant impacts to your project stemming from material shortages.
For more information on this issue or if you would like VPS guidance, please contact these members of the Vantage Point Solutions team:
Quentin Flippin, PE at (605) 995-1744