U.S. telecom groups warn of network construction delays from chip shortages
Amid growing consensus that the US government should pour billions of dollars into the development of broadband across the country, a number of telecom industry trade groups are warning that the ongoing global chip shortage is delaying or completely impeding the construction of networks this year.
“The minimum delay reported by members was generally three to four weeks, with some members reporting a delay of greater than 12 weeks and, in some instances, not being able to obtain the equipment for the 2021 construction season,” wrote NTCA in a filing to the FCC.
The trade group – which represents hundreds of smaller network operators all over the country – made its filing in response to an FCC proceeding looking at the effect of the chip shortage on the US telecommunications industry. The shortage – which traces its origins to a number of factors including the COVID-19 pandemic – has been loudly discussed by players throughout the electronics industry. In telecommunications specifically, a number of major companies from Apple to Infinera have warned that the situation will cost them several billion dollars collectively in the coming months.
“NTCA members report widespread delays in obtaining communications equipment of all kinds, which extends not only to electronics (such as routers, optical network terminals, and customer premises equipment (CPE) but also fiber. The delay appears to have begun soon after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and has escalated since then,” NTCA warned. “These concerns continue to the present, and if anything, have grown more significant over the past year.”
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