Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent say 'buy American' not feasible for stimulus requirements

In discussions and comments filed with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Cisco Systems and Alcatel-Lucent said they want the "buy American" provisions eliminated as a condition to receive part of the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money the NTIA and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) are charged with doling out.

Cisco says requiring U.S.-made equipment would be "grossly inefficient" and a "radical departure" from normal practices. The two industry heavyweights also say such rules would slow down projects because telecom networks typically are made up of equipment from companies worldwide. Congress said funds provided under the law passed in February generally can't be used for iron, steel and factory goods not produced in the U.S.

"We're talking about technologies that are no longer made in the United States," John Marinho, vice president of public affairs with Alcatel-Lucent, said in an interview with Bloomberg. 

Moreover, other telecom vendors and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) have sent a letter to the Commerce Department saying that thousands of parts are constructed around the world and that a requirement for documentation of where they are made "will severely complicate" the application for funds.

The NTIA and RUS are expected to draft stimulus fund rules in early summer.

For more:
- see Bloomberg

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