Sterlite Technologies Limited : Optical Networks that Bridge Gaps

Lauren Kania
Lauren Kania - Junior Editor

With the purpose of transforming billions of lives by connecting the world, Sterlite Technologies Limited is proud to be a leading optical and digital solutions company. Rahul Puri, ONB Sales Head for EMEA, APAC, and India, tells us more.

OPTICAL NETWORKS THAT BRIDGE GAPS

Emerging with a simple yet determined dream to take India to the forefront of technological advancements, the inception of Sterlite Technologies Limited (STL) was marked by humble beginnings and bold ambition. 

Initially established by Anil Agarwal in 1988 as a telecommunications (telecoms) cable company in Aurangabad, India, STL began its journey to international recognition by producing jelly-filled telephone cables. 

The business quickly found success and grew its operations over the years, expanding its customer base into international markets. Eventually reaching 10 global production facilities, offices in 16 different countries, and over 2,628 employees worldwide, STL has proudly made a name for itself as a vital marketplace for cutting-edge optical networking solutions. 

“We have a long and accomplished history, and today, we have become a leading global optical and digital solutions company providing advanced offerings to build 5G, rural, Fibre to the X (FTTX), enterprise, and data centre networks,” introduces Rahul Puri, ONB Sales Head for EMEA, APAC, and India. 

“Telecoms operators, cloud companies, citizen networks, and large enterprises alike all rely on STL for advanced capabilities in optical connectivity, global services, and digital and technological solutions to build ubiquitous and future-ready digital networks.” 

Puri has over 20 years of experience in the technology and telecoms industry, having worked for companies such as Apple, Samsung, LG, and Airtel.  

In his current role, he aims to further increase the company’s global footprint of optical solutions. 

36 YEARS OF UNIQUE CAPABILITIES

STL prides itself on providing solutions that are co-developed with its customers to cater to the most pressing needs of today and tomorrow. 

As proven by its vast and diverse history, innovation runs through the company’s veins. 

This can be directly observed through a variety of STL’s accomplishments, including its ability to continue to find success throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“During the lockdowns in 2021, we inaugurated a new optical fibre cable unit in Aurangabad in order to serve overseas clients better,” shares Puri. 

“Additionally, in 2022, we launched our first optical interconnect design and assembly unit in India to address global markets.” 

Alongside the company’s admirable ability to continue expanding during such an internationally debilitating event, it has also been able to open further locations across Italy, the UK, and the US over the course of the past six years. 

“In 2018 and 2020, we acquired both Metallurgica Bresciana, an Italian optical fibre cable business, and Optotec, an optical connectivity solutions company in Italy. This addition to our optical networking portfolio has allowed us to offer end-to-end optical solutions for national long-distance (NLD), metro, FTTX, and enterprise applications,” details Puri. 

The following year, STL acquired Clearcomm, a network integration services company based in Manchester, in an attempt to begin its network planning and deployment services in the UK as well as strengthen its design offerings for hyperscale data centres.  

The most recent development occurred in September 2023 when the company inaugurated its fibre optic cable plant and North American headquarters in Lugoff, South Carolina. 

These various strategic initiatives, alongside many others, were made in order to accomplish STL’s overarching ambition of making India the fibre capital of the world. 


STL IN NUMBERS

  • 10 global production facilities 
  • 650+ patents in glass science, precision manufacturing, and more 
  • Two innovation centres 
  • Revenues of USD$863 million in 2023 
  • 2,628 employees 
  • Customers served in 100+ countries 
  • Offices in 16 countries 

MADE IN INDIA FOR THE WORLD

STL is steadfast in its belief that researching and building accessible network technologies is the way of the future. 

Specifically, the company’s optical connectivity solutions are paving the way for digital connectivity in Europe. 

“Optical connectivity products such as terminals, connectors, and enclosures are pivotal in taking fibre connectivity to the next level, providing scalable solutions to de-skill field installations and speed up the fibre deployment process,” expands Puri. 

STL is able to purpose-engineer solutions that solve specific customer challenges and has found tremendous success with the top service providers across Europe. 

Some of these solutions include opto-CRS terminals, compact optical ribbon closures, and opto-bolt connectors with drop cables. 

“Opto-CRS terminals were co-designed and deployed for one of the largest service providers in the region,” explains Puri. 

“It is an IP68 enclosure used for underground and aerial networks. The IP68 rating ensures these boxes are shielded against all above-ground and underground elements and are highly compatible across different network architectures.” 

This ultimately leads to a longer network life and reduced costs due to a double-layered sealing mechanism that excludes all human error factors. 

In addition to these innovative and industry-leading solutions, STL is working in a multitude of ways to achieve its commitment to creating a world with next-generation technologies that transform everyday lives. 

“We are working with leading national operators in Italy and top-tier companies in the US to support their rural connectivity plans,” explains Puri. 

As part of this effort, the company has brought fibre connectivity to far-flung and underserved villages in Ireland, where it has established an 8,000-kilometre (km) network, and connected thousands of remote islands in Indonesia, where it has built a 5G-ready network. 

In India, STL is associated with BharatNet, the world’s largest digital inclusion programme, where it is connecting more than 7.5 million citizens in 250,000 villages. In the UK, the company is playing an important role in supporting “Project Gigabit” and working with UK-based service providers. Similarly, it is working with leading national operators in Italy and top-tier companies in the US to support their rural and national connectivity plans for Fibercop and ROF. 

These efforts, alongside many others, showcase STL’s position as one of the top optical players in the world and its determination to continue to pave the way for the future of optical living. 

BUILDING A FUTURE-READY STL

STL is steadfast in its determination and commitment to build a better world beyond tomorrow. 

The company believes it is essential for future generations to design and implement programmes that create meaningful and lasting change across its value chain and in communities. 

It aims to create holistic programmes and undertake sustainability initiatives in a way that benefits society and the environment in a multi-dimensional manner while creating change that is both sustainable and replicable. 

“We are committed to minimising our footprint by focusing on developing eco-friendly products and driving community transformation,” prides Puri. 

“Our goal is to achieve net zero by 2030, and we are actively working towards 100 percent sustainable manufacturing. Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) has already recognised our environmental, social, and governance (EGS) efforts as A-rated.” 

All of the company’s manufacturing units in India and two in Italy are certified for zero waste to landfill and liquid discharge, ensuring responsible water management.  

Additionally, STL conducts life cycle assessments (LCAs) for its optical fibre cables to identify the environmental impact throughout a product’s life cycle. 

“We also emphasise local procurement, with approximately 61 percent of our cable manufacturing supplies sourced locally in 2022,” further expands Puri. 

Innovation, technology, and collective action have always been at the core of STL’s ESG programmes. The company takes pride in levering these competencies to transform lives through sustainable digital networks across its value chain and partnerships that drive equitable growth. 

Led by the firm belief that every interaction should be guided by strong moral and ethical standards, STL ensures responsible and sustainable operations, creating shared value for its stakeholders and local communities. 

“Behind all the technology-driven capabilities and processes lies our purpose of transforming billions of lives by connecting the world,” concludes Puri.

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By Lauren Kania Junior Editor
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Lauren Kania is an in-house writer for EME Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.