AT&T delays 500,000 fiber-to-the-home builds as fiber supply shortage hits

Source: DCD / Raftel

First chips, now fiber

Telecoms giant AT&T has had to push back fiber-to-the-home deployments for around 500,000 homes this year due to fiber supply constraints.

The largest buyer of optical fiber in the US, AT&T said that it is working to get its supply back on track as soon as possible.

"Up through the second quarter, we hadn't really experienced any impact from the supply-chain disruptions that are happening across the industry. But since the start of the third quarter, we are seeing dislocation across the board including in fiber supply," AT&T senior executive VP and CFO Pascal Desroches said at a virtual conference hosted by Oppenheimer, and first reported by Ars Technica.

The company had told investors to expect "three million homes passed [with fiber] this year," Desroches said but, due to the shortages, they are "probably going to come in a little bit light, probably around 2.5 [million]."

AT&T said that it was working closely with the broader fiber ecosystem to address this "near-term dislocation," and expected to still reach its target of 30 million customer locations passed by the end of 2025.

The issues come as the wider tech industry and global supply chain struggle with a prolonged semiconductor shortage, which continues to get worse.