Bye-Bye, 'Buy American'

2:00 PM -- Way back on June 19, the Secretary of Commerce granted a limited waiver of the Recovery Act's "Buy American" provision.

Now telcos can enjoy a bit more freedom in picking their suppliers and can concentrate on the other aspects of the funding process, like how best to demonstrate that broadband service, as defined by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) , can possibly create permanent jobs.

This almost went by unremarked because we see it as such a common-sense move. The ultimate aim of the Recovery Act is private sector job creation, and having to account for the origin of every grommet in a telco equipment maker's supply chain would only have led to more temporary bureaucrats.

The winners in this debate are Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), and any company that campaigned for a blanket waiver of some kind.

The losers: Zhone Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ZHNE), Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), and others that felt nitpicking the origin of each piece of telco gear was going to help in this government-backed sprint (pardon the expression) to facilitate the construction of modern broadband networks. As others have already pointed out: Hokum!

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— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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