U.S. Commerce Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson will be on hand today in Auburn Hills, MI, where Calix will announce plans to manufacture broadband equipment at a facility in the city operated by global manufacturing company Jabil. Building the equipment in the U.S. will enable the equipment to comply with Buy America rules, thereby making the equipment eligible for use in rural buildouts funded through the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
The products that will be built in the facility include optical network terminals (ONTs) and optical line terminals (OLTs), which support fiber broadband services.
More than 100 jobs are expected to be created because of the move. The agreement between Calix and Jabil covers a five-year period.
Davidson, who is responsible for the BEAD program, told reporters in a pre-briefing about the Calix news that the program is “not just about connectivity; it’s also about creating jobs and bringing manufacturing back home.”
Davidson noted that some people initially were skeptical about the Buy America goals.
“We heard they would need major exceptions to Buy America rules, especially on electronics,” Davidson said. “They said it couldn’t be done and now we’re [demonstrating] that it can be [by using] a firm, pragmatic approach.”
The Calix Buy America news wasn’t a surprise, considering that the company wrote in a recent blog post that it was “working with our supply chain partners to ensure we have the appropriate products manufactured in the U.S.”
Calix also noted today that it has agreements with two other manufacturers that involve products being made in the U.S.
The company said it has a 10-year partnership with Hisense Broadband to produce optical modules at its New Jersey facility. Calix also referenced an eight-year partnership with Gemtek to produce ONTs at its California facility.
A company spokesperson confirmed that some products will still be made outside the U.S.
In a press release, Calix said it initially will invest $4 million to $6 million with manufacturing solution partners.
The news about Calix building products in the U.S. to meet the Buy America goals comes just one week after STL, also known as Sterlite Technologies Ltd., said it would manufacture fiber cabling in Lugoff, SC. Fiber cabling also will be in demand as network operators undertake BEAD-funded builds.
Other companies that have announced that they are building or will build fiber broadband equipment in the U.S. include Nokia and Adtran. Other companies that have announced they will manufacture fiber cabling in the U.S. include Prysmian, Corning, CommScope and Superior Essex.
Updated to reflect changes made to the Calix press release after an initial draft was shared with reporters