Adtran CEO: 'We of course expect to be BEAD-compliant'

Adtran has joined Nokia in investing in domestic manufacturing to meet demand for the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Nicole Ferraro, Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast

August 16, 2023

2 Min Read
NTIA Chief Alan Davidson at Adtran's Huntsville, Alabama, facility.
NTIA Chief Alan Davidson at Adtran's Huntsville, Alabama, facility.(Source: Adtran media livestream)

Adtran is the latest telecom equipment company to announce that it's ramping up domestic manufacturing in order to meet "Buy America" rules for the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

The company on Wednesday said it will invest up to $5 million in its Hunstville, Alabama, facility, creating 300 jobs. The investment will allow Adtran to expand its US production of optical line termination (OLT) equipment and onshore the manufacturing of optical network terminals (ONTs).

"We of course expect to be BEAD-compliant," Adtran CEO Tom Stanton said at an event hosted at the company's 270,000-square-foot facility in Huntsville.

Adtran further said it will work to engage new hires by partnering with local schools for its high school apprenticeship program and developing a co-op program for college students.

The announcement from Adtran follows this month's news that Nokia will partner with Sanmina Corporation to manufacture broadband network electronics products for BEAD at Sanmina's facility in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, starting next year.

Additionally today, Nokia announced its partnership with optical supplier Fabrinet to domestically produce fiber broadband optical modules for BEAD. Production will start next year at Fabrinet's facility in Santa Clara, California, "and brings additional high-tech jobs to the country," said the company.

Related:'Buy America' concerns subside with Nokia's BEAD announcement

Jobs and manufacturing

Speaking at Wednesday's event at Adtran's Huntsville facility, NTIA Chief Alan Davidson thanked the company for its investment and noted that BEAD is "not just a connectivity program. It is a jobs and manufacturing program."

"When the administration made this investment in Internet infrastructure, we knew that demand would grow. We knew that demand for fiber optic cable would grow. We knew that demand for advanced electronics like those produced here at Adtran would grow. And we understood that surging demand means more jobs. These jobs could have been outsourced in the past. In fact, in some ways that would have been the easiest thing to do. But this administration is determined to keep jobs and create jobs here at home," said Davidson.

While Buy America rules have been a source of concern for the industry, given the limited amount of domestic broadband equipment, the investments from Nokia and now Adtran are allowing at least some to suggest there's less reason to worry. The NTIA is still expected to release a limited waiver for Buy America rules as they pertain to the BEAD program before end of summer, at which point the industry will have the chance to offer comment.

Related:Fiber advocates focused on permitting, Buy America and workforce

About the Author(s)

Nicole Ferraro

Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast, Light Reading

Nicole covers broadband, policy and the digital divide. She hosts The Divide on the Light Reading Podcast and tracks broadband builds in The Buildout column. Some* call her the Broadband Broad (*nobody).

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like