Biden Admin Partially Backtracks On Buying American-Made Materials For Rural Internet Rollout

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President Joe Biden’s administration has partially waived a requirement to buy American-made materials for its rural broadband internet program, allowing for the purchase of certain components manufactured outside the U.S., according a waiver the Commerce Department finalized on Friday.

Biden’s 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act makes it a requirement to use materials manufactured in the United States, according to its text. However, the Biden administration is waiving the mandate to purchase non-optic-glass inputs and electronics manufactured in the United States to meet the requirements of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, according to the waiver. (RELATED: The Biden Admin Is Pursuing Total Domination Of Americans’ Digital Lives)

Nearly 90% of materials will still be made in the U.S., according to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Critics of the mandate to buy American-made materials for rural broadband expansion in the United States have said it could lead to complications as some important materials are not produced domestically, according to Semafor.

The Biden administration has waived the need to purchase American-made overclad cylinders used in fiber optic cable, according to the waiver. The waiver also eliminates the previous mandate that at least 55% of components in four electronics categories be made in the United States.

“If it can be made in America, it should be made in America,” NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson posted on X Friday. “Today, I am pleased to announce @NTIAgov ‘s tough and pragmatic Buy America waiver, which ensures that nearly 90% of key broadband equipment will be made here in the U.S.”

The Biden administration is struggling to deliver on its objective to provide rural Americans with more high-speed internet access, The Texas Tribune recently reported.

A coalition comprising broadband internet service providers and nonprofits alleged that certain beneficiaries of grant initiatives to construct broadband infrastructure did not properly utilize their allotted funds, according to a letter to be sent to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), obtained by the Tribune. The FCC has suggested fining 95 or more applicants to the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program for defaulting, according to a commission filing.

The Department of Commerce and White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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