The Internet for All initiative is a critical component of the Biden-Harris Administration’s overall strategy to build a more dynamic economy. It will enable American workers and businesses to compete on the global stage and generate new economic opportunities in overlooked communities throughout the country. Internet for All will create as many as 150,000 jobs nationwide – but to maximize the economic potential of this initiative, manufacturers and Internet service providers will need to build right here in America.
As President Biden said in his State of the Union Address this week, “[w]e’re making sure that every community has access to affordable, high-speed Internet...And when we do these projects, we’re going to Buy American.” The president made clear that while Buy America has been the law of the land since 1933, too many administrations have found ways to skirt its requirements.
We will not.
The iron and steel, manufactured products, and construction materials needed to deliver affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service to millions of Americans is an opportunity to create jobs and opportunities right here in America. That’s why NTIA believes that if it can be Made in America, it should be made in America – and it’s why we’ll strictly enforce ‘Build America, Buy America’ (BABA) requirements outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Internet for All Notices of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs).
For example, NTIA has done considerable research and does not currently see any need for waivers for fiber optic glass or cable. Our expectation is that industry will be able to produce enough quantity to satisfy the demand from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program over the coming years.
We provided waivers for our first programs that were tailored to align with their specific scopes and timelines. The BEAD Program has different requirements, and manufacturers have time to re-shore or expand their operations. Moving forward, NTIA will work with these businesses to ensure that they can produce the relevant products for the BEAD program domestically. We are carefully monitoring administration-wide initiatives like the new proposed Made in America policies from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that we meet our obligations.
Resources are available for businesses seeking to comply with BABA requirements. Manufacturers, Internet service providers, and other stakeholders seeking assistance with meeting the BABA requirements may contact NTIA’s Internet for All BABA policy leads for more information at BABA@NTIA.gov.
The Biden-Harris Administration is relentlessly focused on developing and implementing an industrial strategy to revitalize America’s manufacturing base, strengthen our critical supply chains, and ensure that U.S. workers have the skills and tools they need to compete and lead globally in the 21st century digital economy. Thanks to these efforts, we’ve already seen the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 and some of the strongest manufacturing job growth in American history. NTIA is committed to ensuring that the investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law add to the momentum.
We look forward to working with suppliers and manufacturers to ensure that the future of affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet service in America is built right here at home.