Nvidia Navigates Export Rules, FCC on High-Cost, Kansas Awards Fiber Grants

Department of Commerce continues to combat the export of U.S. semiconductors to adversarial nations

Nvidia Navigates Export Rules, FCC on High-Cost, Kansas Awards Fiber Grants
Photo of U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

December 4, 2023 – Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Saturday that the department is ready and willing to impose further export restrictions on any products made by graphics card maker NVIDIA that assists adversarial nations in developing their artificial intelligence capabilities, according to a story from Fortune.

“If you redesign a chip around a particular cut line that enables them to do AI, I’m going to control it the very next day,” Raimondo said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, according to Fortune.

Nvidia, which has been focusing on its development as an AI company, has restructured its advanced chips to access the Chinese market, which is worth at least $400 million in sales. In response to exports restrictions imposed by Commerce in August 2022, Nvidia tweaked its A100 chip series to comply with U.S. rules, limiting the processing capabilities and re-releasing the chips under a new name, the A800 series.

In October 2023, Commerce imposed additional licensing requirements based on performance threshold to limit the export of high-performance computing chips, to include the A800 series. Less than a month later, Nvidia had introduced a series of GPUs with limited computing capabilities in compliance with Commerce export requirements, made available to Chinese customers.

Commerce has said it is trying to limit risks of the chips being used in foreign military operations.

In response to Secretary Raimondo’s recent claims, Nvidia told Broadband Breakfast, “We are engaged with the U.S. government and, following the government’s clear guidelines, are working to offer compliant data center solutions to customers worldwide.”

The advanced chips are central components to the rise of artificial intelligence, autonomous machines, cloud and high-performance computing.

FCC issues guidance to high-cost support recipients

The Federal Communications Commission released guidance Wednesday for recipients of high-cost support, outlining the coordination necessary between the recipients, state broadband offices and Tribal entities to avoid overbuilding in areas supported by multiple broadband programs.

The FCC notes that the recipients of the high-cost programs, which include the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model, and Connect America Fund, must participate in the broadband map challenge process as states prepare to deliver money from the $42.5-billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program.

“Full participation of high-cost support recipients in BEAD Program challenge processes is critical to ensuring that the FCC’s high-cost funding is not duplicated by the BEAD Program,” the FCC said in the guidance.

“Participation in the BEAD Program challenge process also ensures state broadband offices receive information about high-cost program supported deployments beyond the valuable information provided on the Broadband Funding Map,” it added.

These recipients should coordinate with their respective state broadband office by taking steps to ensure that the National Broadband Map accurately reflects the locations they serve, the speeds they provide to the locations, and the technologies they are using to serve those locations, the FCC emphasized.

In addition, the FCC guidance emphasizes that high-cost support recipients should engage with each relevant Tribal government annually to obtain the necessary consent, permits, and other approvals as soon as practicable, even if the recipient has not begun deployment.

The Tribal engagement obligation set by the FCC represents an opportunity for Tribal governments and high-cost support recipients to coordinate on many issues critical to the deployment and adoption of communications technologies on Tribal lands.

Kansas awards $28.5 million in state broadband grants

Kansas announced it is awarding $28.5 million in broadband grants Wednesday to 12 internet service providers through the state’s Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity program. All of the funding dedicated to broadband infrastructure is going toward deploying fiber technology.

One of the largest awards is to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, a native American tribe, which will bring fiber-to-the-home connectivity to all of the nation’s 204 residences, as well as to 10 Tribal government services locations on the PBPN reservation.

Additionally, included in the awards is funding for Kansas’ first carrier-neutral Internet Exchange Point, which will be located on the campus of Wichita State University. The IXP stands to reduce IP transit pricing to below 10 cents per megabit, an expected 90% reduction in cost as compared to current transport and transit pricing through Kansas City, Missouri.

The awards will also expand middle mile infrastructure through two economically distressed counties in north central Kansas.

The state funds will be matched by the ISPs for a total of $33.9 million in additional investments.