Fiber Optic Cabinets, Cables, Pedestals and Terminals

The federal government’s “Build America Buy America” (BABA) provisions associated with the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program aren’t new concepts to either the fiber industry or the telecommunications world but are the latest evolution to promoting and fostering U.S. production of materials and equipment for securing the country’s industrial base and creating jobs here at home. Whenever possible, the government likes to fund programs that improve the economy and build up the workforce.

Anyone of a certain age remembers the “Made in the USA” commercials that were on TV in the days before the invention of DVR, which allowed you to fast-forward through the ads. Most of the suppliers in our industry are familiar with the “Buy American” requirements with other federally funded programs, such as those in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) projects.

NTIA has done a good job in seeking input from all stakeholders to balance the intent of BABA to onshore jobs and increase the economic impact of spending here in the U.S. with the vital need to get the money flowing, the projects started, and shovels turning to start lighting up the unserved and underserved households across the country. In addition, the BABA waivers provide guidance to everyone in the fiber ecosystem, from materials and equipment suppliers to construction contractors and service providers, on how to interpret the rules for the things that affect their part of building the network.

Not everything being used by BEAD projects will be built in the U.S. Certainly there are cases where exceptions for materials and equipment will be made, such as core network elements like routers. These exceptions have been clearly defined. With a well-understood ruleset and defined waivers where applicable or needed, BABA provides a level playing field in which all vendors can compete evenly.

In the months and years to come, Clearfield is positioned to win more than our fair share of business if everyone is operating on a level playing field. Building our products in the U.S. is nothing new - we’ve been doing it since we first opened our doors in Minneapolis. As we’ve grown, we’ve continued to expand our facilities in the States to support our customers here in America and abroad. We’ve grown to meet the increasing demand for our products. We’re ready to continue being the fiber to anywhere company for tomorrow and the years beyond as BEAD and private investments take fiber everywhere it needs to go.

Kevin leads the marketing efforts for Clearfield as Chief Marketing Officer. He joined the fiber company in 2016, leveraging his extensive experience in advanced communications technology, fiber optic systems, and business product marketing. Prior to joining Clearfield, he spent two decades serving in various senior marketing positions at ADTRAN. Before that, he spent a decade at telephone operating company BellSouth, now a part of AT&T, where he worked as the lead broadband product evaluations resource in the Science & Technology department.

Morgan currently serves on the Fiber Broadband Association Senior Council Committee and has also held various leadership positions at the Fiber Broadband Association, including Board of Directors Chair for 2015, 2019, and 2022. Morgan holds an Electrical Engineering degree from Auburn University and an MBA from the University of Alabama.