Adtran jumps on BEAD programme with $5m manufacturing expansion


The company say move will create up to 300 ‘high quality, good paying jobs’, which will be added to the firm’s current workforce of 1,400 people 

This week, US Adtran announced the expansion of its telecommunications equipment manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama, aimed at supporting the domestic production of fibre equipment.  

The company will invest up to $5 million in the project, which will include the scaling up of its production of optical line termination equipment and onshoring the manufacturing of optical network terminals.  

The move is heavily motivated by the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) programme, part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which dedicates $42.45 billion in public funds to expanding internet access in America. In a recent allocation announcement, the Federal Communications Commission state of Alabama, for example, is set to receive $1.4 billion in funding to expand broadband access across the state.  

However, to make use of these funds, successful applicants must pledge to only purchase equipment produced in the US, part of Biden’s ‘Made in America’ drive for domestic manufacturing after years of offshoring. 

As a result, companies seeking to benefit from BEAD-funded manufacturing contracts will need to expand their domestic production capabilities, hence this latest move by Adtran.  

“The Internet for All initiative is not just a connectivity program, it’s a jobs program – for the people who build the networks and for the people who make the equipment those networks need,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator. “If network equipment can be made in America, it should be made in America. Companies like Adtran are stepping up and answering that call.” 

The news comes just days after Nokia announced that it will partner with manufacturing firm Sanmina Corporation to produce fibre optic network equipment at the latter’s factory in Wisconsin, with the company also seeking a slice of the lucrative BEAD funding. 

How is the US broadband market evolving? Join the operators in discussion at next year’s Connected America conference live in Dallas, Texas 

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