Nokia looks for a slice of BEAD funding with new Sanmina Corporation partnership


The telco is the first company to announce domestic production of fibre products for use in the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) programme 

This week, Nokia has announced that it will partner with manufacturing firm Sanmina Corporation to produce fibre optic network equipment at the latter’s factory in Wisconsin for use in the BEAD program. 

The BEAD programme, launched in November 2021 as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, dedicates more than $42 billion to expand high-speed internet access to everyone in America, with the aim to “get everyone online”. The scheme will fund the planning and building of the infrastructure needed to increase the adoption of high-speed internet. 

The money was allocated in June on a state-by-state basis, with each state receiving a minimum of $100 million and offshore territories a $25 million minimum. Some states, such as Texas and California have secured much more, being allocated $3.3 billion and $1.86 billion, respectively. Nineteen US states are set to receive more than $1 billion. 

States must now each submit a five-year plan to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), outlining how they will use their funding to close the digital divide in their respective regions. 

Naturally, this is a huge opportunity for fibre network equipment makers, but there is a catch: the “Build America, Buy America” Act, which requires public funding to only be spent on American-made products. The NTIA is stringent in their imposition of this, in order to maximise the economic potential of the scheme for the country. 

Thus, for Nokia to capture even a fraction of this BEAD funding, it will require manufacturing capabilities in the US itself, hence the new partnership with Sanmina. 

Products to be manufactured at that the Sanmina plant include an Optical Line Termination (OLT) card for a modular Access Node, a small form factor OLT, OLT optical modules, and an outdoor-hardened Optical Network Terminal (ONT). 

“By continuing to invest in domestic manufacturing, Nokia and Sanmina will be able to help create a sustainable future for the industry, one that drives job growth and ensures the fibre products produced embody the quality and excellence associated with American manufacturing,” added Sanmina CEO Jure Sola. 

“By bringing the manufacturing of our fibre-optic broadband access products to the US, BEAD participants will be able to work with us to bridge the digital divide. We look forward to bringing more Americans online,” said Nokia in a statement. 

Manufacturing the equipment will begin next year, and Nokia claims the project will create 200 new jobs.  

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

Also in the news:
Comcast talks building a self-healing network at Connected America
1&1 foregoes Telefónica for Vodafone in 5G roaming deal
Is the UK losing the 5G rollout race? 

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