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Biden Administration Waiving Some ‘Buy America’ Requirements in Broadband Buildout

It has been announced by the Biden administration that it is waiving some “Buy America” requirements for projects involved in the $42 billion broadband program, funding made available under the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program. The waivers to be provided allow for some of the funds from the program to be spent on equipment manufactured abroad.

“This [Build America, Buy America] waiver takes the strongest approach possible to protecting American jobs while also ensuring that we can quickly build the Internet networks,” said Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration Senior Policy Advisor Will Arbuckle.

According to The Hill, The Build America, Buy America Act, which was enacted as part of the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, requires covered infrastructure projects to use iron, steel, manufactured products and construction materials produced in the U.S.

Even with the waiver, nearly 90 percent of funds for the broadband program are still expected to be spent on equipment manufactured in the U.S., Arbuckle noted.

“We’re doing this because the stakes are high,” he said in Friday’s news release. “At more than $42 billion, it is the single-largest investment to expand high-speed Internet access in American history.”

“These are American tax dollars—and we strongly believe they should be spent on equipment made by American workers in American communities,” Arbuckle added.

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