AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Fiber manufacturing is being used to make optical fiber stronger, and its popularity is growing faster than its use to make other materials, like ceramics and ceramical products, the Optical Fiber Manufacturers Association said in a report.
The association says optical fiber is used in buildings, sensors and in products like smartwatches and computers, and optical fiber has been touted as a new technology in a new era of connected devices.
It says it has seen a 60 percent increase in the number of fiber manufacturers since 2014, and that in 2019, the number surpassed that of the other industries it surveyed.
That growth is coming at a cost: Optical fibers are more expensive to make.
The new report says optical fibers are becoming less expensive to produce because of a shortage of workers, the proliferation of the internet of things and other factors that have created a demand for fiber in industries such as aerospace and telecommunications.