Nokia Claims First U.S.-Based Optical Fiber Module Manufacturer for BEAD Projects

Nokia’s bundle package sources a wide range of networking equipment from the U.S. for BEAD builds.

Nokia Claims First U.S.-Based Optical Fiber Module Manufacturer for BEAD Projects
Photo of Sandy Motley

CALIFORNIA, August 17, 2023 – Nokia announced Wednesday that it is the first telecom vendor to manufacture fiber optical modules in the United States for use in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program.

Nokia is partnering with Fabrinet, a global manufacturer of optical products, to produce multi-rate optical modules at the company’s facility in California. Production is expected to start in 2024 and will bring additional high-tech jobs to the country, it said.

Optical modules are a key component to fiber broadband networks that convert electrical signals into light and vise versa. “By manufacturing these optical modules in the U.S., Nokia continues to expand its list of products and solutions for network rollouts using BEAD or other funding,” read the press release.

Requirements under the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act’s BEAD program state that program recipients must source at least 55 percent of their components by cost from the United States, either manufactured, produced, or mined in the country. The requirement is part of President Joe Biden’s agenda to support the country’s manufacturing economy.

“Many in the industry have said that manufacturing optical modules in the U.S. was impossible. Today, we’re proving it can be done. Working alongside the Department of Commerce and Fabrinet, we’re excited to add optical modules to the list of technology solutions that will be produced here in the U.S. and become available to programs like BEAD which are so critical to bridging the digital divide,” said Sandy Motley, president of fixed networks at Nokia.

Nokia also announced Thursday the expansion of its ‘network-in-a-box’ program to provide network infrastructure products in a single bundle that operators and BEAD participants need to quickly build or scale broadband networks. The pre-packaged solutions are “configurable to each individual network build,” read the press release.

“The program provides all of the recently announced U.S. manufactured fiber-optic broadband network electronics products and optical modules in a single solution,” it said. “Operators need to be able to source a wide range of components and networking equipment all while ensuring their quality and compatibility.”

The announcement follows Nokia’s announcement in early August that it will manufacture key electronic components for fiber-optic broadband networks in Sanmina Corporation’s manufacturing facility in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Adtran, a global provider of networking and communications equipment, announced this week that it is investing up to $5 million at its manufacturing facility in Alabama to increase American production capacity of advanced telecommunications equipment.