NTIA drops «buy American» rule for broadband stimulus funds

Lynnette Luna, FierceBroadbandWireless
30 Jun 2009

The US government has removed the "buy American" conditions it had originally set for companies seeking stimulus money to build broadband networks.

In a notice published Friday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said the Secretary of Commerce granted a limited waiver of the buy American stipulation in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to broadband equipment used in broadband networks deployed using stimulus money.

NITA is distributing $5 billion of the $7.2 billion earmarked for broadband deployments in unserved and underserved areas across the US.

The waiver includes switching, access, transport, routing, customer premise and billing equipment as well as end user devices.

The waiver doesn\'t include optic cables, coaxial cables, cell towers and other facilities that are in abundance in the United States. For other equipment not on the list, companies can request waivers case by case.

Earlier this month, Cisco Systems and Alcatel-Lucent said they wanted the buy American provisions eliminated, arguing that the requirement for US-made equipment would be "grossly inefficient" and a "radical departure" from normal practices.

The two industry heavyweights also said such rules would slow down projects because telecom networks typically are made up of equipment from companies worldwide.

Congress said funds provided under the law passed in February generally can\'t be used for iron, steel and factory goods not produced in the US.

For more: see Telephony

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