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Buy American? Not if It's Broadband

Dan Jones
6/29/2009

12:20 PM -- The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has waived the "Buy American" clause "with respect to certain broadband equipment that will be used in projects funded under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)," a.k.a. part of the stimulus package.

This possibly opens the way for suppliers like Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) to get in on the recovery act.

As Unstrung has noted before, the "Buy American" clause on other government spending projects has a somewhat loose definition of what is and isn't Mom's Apple Pie anyway. For instance, Israeli company Alvarion Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR) recently won a supply contract for a $100 million WiMax contract in the U.S. (See Alvarion Lands Largest Gov't-Backed WiMax Deal.)

Alvarion actually got "Buy American" status approved for two of its base stations. This is because of a clause in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program that allows Canadian, Mexican, and Israeli companies to apply for "Buy American" status.

The new waiver from the NTIA appears to open that field wider.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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