Nicola Scafuro says he often points out the Fibra Ottica Sud (FOS) optical fibre plant to his wife with pride when he sees it from a distance. Rightly so. The optical fibre plant is one of Prysmian’s three fibre plants in Europe, and Scafuro, its general director, is in charge of making sure this cutting-edge factory stays competitive in all aspects of the complex production process. FOS produces about 50% of all the optical fibre made in Europe by Prysmian Group. Prysmian is Europe’s largest producer of optical fibre.
The “drawing tower” is the heart of the FOS optical fibre production, where glass made at the factory is melted and dripped (or “drawn”) into the hair-thin fibres that form the cable backbone of the internet across the world – and that will deliver on the promises of 5G networks and make the “gigabit society” into a reality.
Scafuro and his 300-strong staff have expanded the plant and are making other big changes in order to churn out more and more fibre to meet demand for the smart networks of the future that will power things like data centres, the Internet of Things and self-driving cars. Surprisingly, this outpost of the gigabit society is not in Italy’s industrial north, and is the only factory in the area. Across the road is a kiwi farm. Drive a few kilometers along the two-lane SP 135 highway and you will find Feudi di Terre d’Otranto, a wine producer. The nearest town is Battipaglia, famous for its mozzarella cheese.