Broadcom plant in Fort Collins to benefit from Apple investment

Fort Collins will be a major beneficiary under a new multi-year, multi-billion dollar deal that Apple, maker of the iPhone, has struck with Broadcom, a leading maker of chips and other equipment for the communications industry.

“We’re thrilled to make commitments that harness the ingenuity, creativity, and innovative spirit of American manufacturing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement Tuesday. “All of Apple’s products depend on technology engineered and built here in the United States, and we’ll continue to deepen our investments in the U.S. economy because we have an unshakable belief in America’s future.”

Although a specific amount wasn’t provided, the commitment comes out of a pledge Apple made in 2021 to spend and invest $430 billion in the U.S. economy over five years through more purchases from domestic suppliers, locating data centers in the U.S., and direct capital investments in the country.

Over the years, Apple has come under fire for its heavy reliance on Chinese firms to manufacture iPhones and its other signature products. A key partner in China, Foxconn, has also been criticized over labor conditions at its plants. After relations between the U.S. and China grew more fraught and the pandemic disrupted its supply chain, Apple has sought to diversify its manufacturing network within Asia and spend more within the U.S.

Broadcom, which is based in San Jose, Calif., will provide Apple with 5G radio frequency and connectivity components, including FBAR filters sourced in Fort Collins under the new agreement.

“Broadcom is one of our top five employers here and we are pleased to hear about the announcement. They are critical to our local economy,” said Kelly DiMartino, Fort Collins city manager.

That Apple, the world’s largest public company with a market value of $2.7 trillion, chose to highlight Fort Collins as a beneficiary under the new purchase agreement speaks to the importance of the deal for the city’s economy.

The Fort Collins plant covers 1.4 million square feet, including 185,000 square feet of chip fabrication floor space. Originally under HP and then Avago, until that company’s merger with Broadcom, the plant has been active for more than four decades, manufacturing central processing units for workstations and printers, RAM components, image sensors and mouse chips.

As technology has shifted away from desktop computers to mobile devices, the plant turned its focus to making chips for phones and FBAR or film bulk acoustic wave resonator filters, key components needed to reduce interference at the higher frequencies that 5G technology operates on.

Broadcom currently employs about 1,100 people in Fort Collins making FBAR filters, not counting other products. Details were not available yet on how many additional jobs might result from the new agreement with Apple.

DiMartino said that Broadcom has yet to approach the city about any additional infrastructure needs to accommodate the larger volume of orders expected to flow through the factory at Harmony and Ziegler Road.

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