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Nokia Fiber Electronics Facility Likely to Alleviate ‘Buy America’ Concerns, Industry Says

Nokia will continue to invest in American manufacturing in the coming years, said CEO.



Screenshot of Kamala Harris at Thursday announcement

KENOSHA, Wisconsin, August 3, 2023 – Analysts expressed optimism that Nokia’s Thursday announcement of an extensive fiber electronics manufacturing here will essentially eliminate concerns in the broadband industry about current Buy America requirements for federal investment.

On the same day as Nokia’s announcement of a manufacturing facility with Sanmina Corporation, a research note from New Street Research Policy Advisor Blair Levin, the Nokia plant, a new Corning plant and a limited waiver of Buy America rules for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program expected later this summer will now make it possible for BEAD subrecipients to comply with the Buy America mandates.

At the ceremonial announcement of the facility on Thursday afternoon by Kamala Harris, the vice president was joined by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

“For years, manufacturing was the foundation of the economy here,” said Harris. Between 1990 and 2010, America lost more than 6 million manufacturing jobs, she said, claiming that the Biden Administration would reverse this process and give Americans “what they really need.” 

“We are determined to create jobs in America and keep jobs in America, all of which leads us to today,” said Harris. Nokia is set to hire up to 200 new employees, build parts that are needed to connect people to high-speed internet, and onshore American manufacturing, she said. There is no limit to what we can achieve for nation, Harris concluded. 

Raimondo celebrated the investment, saying it is the most sophisticated technology to be made in the United States. She concluded, “where is it written that we can’t manufacture in America? Nowhere.” 

CEO says: ‘Nokia gets the job done’

Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark said at the announcement that the electronics will be available in 2024 and will help the deployment of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program. “Nokia gets the job done,” he said, saying that the company has worked to invest in American jobs since the announcement of the BEAD program. 

“We don’t plan to stop here,” Lundmark claimed, saying that the company will invest in more manufacturing plants in the coming years. 

“The America worker is the best and most productive worker in the world,” added Sanmina CEO Jure Sola, to applause. He expressed their gratitude for the partnership with Nokia and hope for the future that the company will continue to grow

Nokia’s announcement is the latest of domestic manufacturing announcements spurred by the Biden Administration’s Made in America policies which seeks to support America’s manufacturing economy. 

“Across the high-speed internet industry, most electronics products are not currently manufactured in the U.S., but Buy America provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are driving the onshoring of new manufacturing, particularly ahead of implementation of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program,” said the White House. 

Other companies and analysts comment

Although Nokia’s announcement is the first of its kind to manufacture core electronic components of its fiber equipment in America, several fiber providers have announced similar investments in American manufacturing. 

Corning, producer of optical fiber and cable, announced in June that it is opening a new manufacturing campus of passive optical equipment, rather than electronics, in North Carolina. Although the company declined to comment on Nokia’s announcement, a Corning spokesperson said of their North Carolina investment that it “is part of a series of investments by Corning in fiber and cable manufacturing totaling more than $500 million since 2020. Altogether, these investments nearly double Corning’s ability to serve the U.S. optical cable market – ensuring strong U.S. supply of optical fiber and cable to support network buildouts fund by the federal government’s BEAD program.” 

Robert Conger, senior vice president of technology and strategy for fiber provider Adtran, told Broadband Breakfast of the Nokia announcement that “Adtran has been manufacturing networking equipment right here at our headquarters in Huntsville, Alabama, for nearly 30 years. With our state-of-the-art facility and broad fiber networking portfolio that covers solutions ranging from the optical core to the customer premise, we’re one of the only vendors already primed to help service providers comply with Build America, Buy America.” 

The Commerce Department is expected to release a limited BEAD Buy America waiver by late August, say industry sources.

According to Levin, “while the limited waiver still must be filed and ruled on, we [New Street Research] feel confident that the BEAD program will not hit any speed bumps related to the Buy America provisions.” 

This follows comments by industry leaders urging NTIA action on Buy America waivers to enable effective BEAD build outs, claiming that not doing so will add complexity to an already complicated supply chain. 

Other private investments

Provider of broadband network equipment CommScope recently announced a $60 million investment toward expanding its U.S. fiber optic cable manufacturing in North Carolina. The investment is set to create more than 250 new jobs over the next five years and create a fiber optic cable designed for rural networks. 

Prysmian, a manufacturer of fiber optic cable, announced that it will invest $30 million to convert its Tennessee copper cable facility into a fiber optic cable manufacturing plant.  

Buy America requirements ensure that 55 percent or more of iron, steel, fiber and construction materials as part of federally funded programs are manufactured in the U.S. The requirements follow the CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act which invest in American manufacturing for semiconductors and green energy plants. 

According to the White House, the private sector has already invested more than $500 billion in new domestic manufacturing for semiconductors, electric batteries, electric vehicle charging, rail manufacturing, water parts and more. 


The High Cost of Fiber is Leading States to Explore Other Technologies

If the state chose to solely install fiber, underserved communities would be left out, said state broadband leaders.



Photo of Sandeep Taxali of New Mexico, Kaiti Saunders of Verizon, Edyn Rolls of Oklahoma and Brian Newby of North Dakota (left to right)

WASHINGTON, November 17, 2023— The high cost of fiber installation has led states to pursue hybrid fiber models to ensure rural and underserved communities have access to the internet.

Speaking at the U.S. Broadband Summit here on Thursday, state broadband officials expanded on the challenges they face in ensuring broadband deployment.

Sandeep Taxali, broadband program advisor with the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access, said that New Mexico’s $745 million allocation under the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program falls short of the $1.3 to 2.5 billion that the state would need for full fiber deployment.

If the state chose to solely install fiber, underserved communities would be left out, he said.

“We want to lead with fiber but we also recognize that advanced fixed wireless and hybrid fixed wireless and fiber and satellite have a seat at the table for the very high cost remote areas where fiber is just going to not allow us to get the mission done,” Taxali said.

Jade Piros, director of Kansas Office of Broadband Development said her state is likely chosing to do 75% fiber model and 25% other technologies. Uncertainty of the cost from broadband providers make it difficult to have a standard cost calculation.

“We have to get everybody connected, and that’s why we require a lot of flexibility in shifting our expectations and the willingness to work closely with providers and be responsive to what they’re telling us,” Piros said.

Edyn Rolls, director of broadband strategy at the Oklahoma Broadband Office, expressed optimism that all of the underserved residents in her state would be reached, despite having what she said was an estimated $500 million shortfall.

“We will find the technologies that are going to be less expensive and achieve the needed model,” Rolls said. “We are trying to reach universal access. That is the goal.”

Connect20 Summit

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In New York City, Sharing Broadband Infrastructure Takes on a New Dimension

Panelists from Stealth Communications and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners addressed operational and financial broadband



At VON: Evolution, Drew Clark, Joe Plotkin of Stealth, and David Gilford of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (left to right)

NEW YORK, November 6, 2023 – Expanding competitive broadband infrastructure in New York City is challenged by aging conduit access and difficulties attaching fiber lines to utility poles, experts said at a panel discussion here on Thursday.

Register for Digital Infrastructure Investment in Washington on December 5, 2023!

In a discussion called “Building Beyond BEAD,” a reference to the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment grant program at VON Evolution, a tech and telecom summit, panelists highlighted the critical role of funding for digital infrastructure investment.

Joe Plotkin, business development director for New York fiber provider Stealth Communications, explained how the city’s underground conduit system dates back to the 1880s. This legacy infrastructure helps new entrants like Stealth run fiber by providing conduit access through an established system long occupied by incumbents like Verizon and Altice.

Above ground, pole attachment policies also stymie broadband competition, according to David Gilford, head of policy and strategic partnerships at Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, a company that builds technology-enabled infrastructure, backed by institutional investors including Alphabet.

Gilford advocated for greater sharing of “scarce” pole real estate among competitive carriers looking to deploy fiber and wireless infrastructure.

Plotkin and Gilford explored these challenges at a panel organized and moderated by Broadband Breakfast CEO Drew Clark at VON Evolution. They examined how private capital can help bridge broadband gaps as an alternative to, or extension beyond, government funding programs like the $42.5 billion BEAD initiative.

While BEAD will expand service to unserved and underserved areas, Plotkin noted it may have limited impact in locations deemed served. He gave the example of old apartment buildings in New York City that lack modern wiring, leaving residents with poor broadband options.

Gilford explained companies like SIP make investments in physical infrastructure like shared radio access networks and other wireless components. But his company does not build the lower-level fiber networks itself, instead partnering with both municipalities and private providers like Stealth.

Plotkin emphasized fiber remains the “gold standard” for reliable, high-capacity broadband versus other technologies like satellite. But innovations are still needed in running fiber the “last 50 feet” into residences and businesses, including affordably wiring older apartment buildings.

The panelists named immersive extended reality environments, two-way video calling, cloud computing and connected vehicles as emerging applications dependent on robust fiber and wireless networks.

Editor’s note: Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners makes investments in physical infrastructure like shared radio access networks and other wireless components, but does not actually invest in fiber routes or cell towers, as was stated in a prior version of this story. Additionally, SIP is not best described as a venture capital spin-off of Google, but as a technology-enabled builder of infrastructure backed by institutional investors including Alphabet. The story has been corrected.

Register for Digital Infrastructure Investment in Washington on December 5, 2023!

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Expert Opinion

Bill Long: How Middle Mile Investments Close the Digital Divide

Internet for all: Zayo’s mission to connect what’s next.



The author of this Expert Opinion is Bill Long, Chief Product Officer at Zayo

Over four million children couldn’t access the internet for online learning during the pandemic. Currently, 42 million Americans lack broadband access, creating a major barrier to opportunity for U.S. families impacted economically, educationally and socially.

Growing up in an underserved area, I witnessed the transformative power of connectivity and its potential to uplift communities. As Zayo’s Chief Product Officer, I am passionate about utilizing technology to connect people and businesses. My role involves leading the company’s product strategy and roadmap, with a strong focus on developing innovative products and services that expand internet access. Through our recent funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Middle Mile Grant Program, Zayo is taking decisive steps to connect communities and pave the way for a more inclusive and connected future. I’m proud to be a part of this effort.

Zayo’s transformative middle-mile projects

The $92.9 million in funding represents a major milestone in our commitment to closing the digital divide. With these funds, we plan to undertake three projects extending network infrastructure across eight states and over 2,100 route miles. These projects have been carefully selected based on needs-based criteria, such as current broadband speeds, rural and socio-economic indicators, to ensure we can significantly affect marginalized communities. Fiber is the foundation for broadband for all. Connecting these regions can bridge the technological gap and create a pathway for better economic prospects and educational resources.

Oregon-California-Nevada Project

The first project aims to build a high-capacity fiber route spanning over 622 route miles — or fiber optic cables linking locations along a specific route — to connect communities in Oregon, California and Nevada. Our primary goal is to connect these underserved communities and benefit households, businesses and anchor organizations in Oregon, California and Nevada.

El Paso to Dallas Project

Our second project involves constructing a high-capacity, middle-mile fiber route stretching over 644 miles to establish broadband in rural areas across Western Texas, from El Paso to Dallas. These areas currently lack fiber networks with the capacity to serve entire rural communities.

Dallas to Atlanta Project

The third project focuses on creating additional network connectivity exit ramps along our existing unique, five-state route between Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia, covering 822 route miles.

Network connectivity exit ramps are crucial access points and off-ramps for data traffic, facilitating seamless connections and providing enhanced flexibility to customers. By optimizing network efficiency and streamlining data transfers, they lead to improved user experiences and higher performance for businesses across industries. These exit ramps add value by meeting evolving digital demands and solidifying Zayo’s position as a leader in innovative, future-ready network solutions.

We targeted these areas in particular because the median broadband access speed is at or less than 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) down * 25 Mbps up. We’ve observed that a significant percentage of the population in these regions falls under the federal poverty rate, and many school districts have a high level of participation in the national school lunch program. Additionally, 36 schools are within 1,000 feet of the fiber routes, meaning they’ll benefit from improved connectivity, enabling them to access essential online resources, support remote learning initiatives and enhance educational opportunities for students and faculty alike.

​​Connecting communities one project at a time

Zayo’s middle-mile mission is built on partnerships with government entities and local ISPs. These collaborations foster economic growth within the state and ensure broadband connectivity for underserved areas. Our strong relationships with local ISPs, cultivated over years of working together to interconnect on our network, allow us to identify and address the specific needs of each community. We are actively working with ISP partners and local broadband offices to identify other potential underserved areas.

Fiber is the perfect solution for connecting underserved areas because it is a long-lasting, reliable, scalable infrastructure asset. Fiber can connect the edge to the core and support a wide range of applications, including 5G, cloud computing and enterprise networking. With the support of our partners, we aim to foster a collaborative ecosystem around fiber, ensuring equal internet access for all communities and preventing them from becoming isolated broadband islands.

This funding is a step forward in our mission to help transform remote education, telemedicine and public safety communication. We understand that connectivity is both a technological endeavor and an essential tool for empowerment and economic development. Internet access is a fundamental right, and my mission is to provide reliable bandwidth to these communities, foster economic growth and level the digital playing field.

As Chief Product Officer at Zayo, Bill Long leads the company’s overall product strategy, financials, and roadmap. He has nearly two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry with expertise in interconnection and infrastructure services, enterprise and wholesale voice, and business and product development. Prior to joining Zayo, Bill served as senior vice president of product management and was responsible for the overall growth and profitability of Equinix Interconnection and was Voice President of Voice Services at Level 3 Communications. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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