The Ongoing Value of RUS 'Made In America' Certification
StimulatingBroadband.com 11/23/09 Boston - Infinera Corporation (NASDAQ: INFN), the digital optical network equipment maker based in Sunnyvale, CA, announced last week that its ATN metro edge platform has been certified by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as suitable for deployment under the telecom programs of RUS.
The RUS listing will enable telecom service providers building rural networks under the RUS program to take advantage of the simplicity, flexibility, and ease of operations of Infinera’s new ATN metro edge platform, according to the company's press release of November 20. The USDA’s Rural Development Telecommunications program provides loans and grants to support the extension of broadband networks into rural areas and to support distance learning and telemedicine initiatives.
“RUS listing is an important milestone for the ATN, as it will make it easier for small, rural telecom companies and other broadband consortia to deploy the ATN and take advantage of its powerful advantages in speed, simplicity, and flexibility,” stated Paul Morkel, Infinera Director of Product Applications in the release.
RUS Made in America Advantage: Value to Gear Makers
As readers of Stimulatingbroadband.com well know, the ability of RUS to promote broadband networks was expanded greatly this year by President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which appropriated $2.5 billion to the RUS, out of a total broadband stimulus budget of $7.2 billion.
As we have previously reported, because of the congressional mandate given to the RUS legacy rural telecom programs first inaugurated in 1949, RUS has used this baseline appropriation in ARRA to leverage what agency managers believe will be a total program spend of $7 billion - $9 billion. The first effort by RUS to certificate U.S. manufactured equipment for use in its rural telephony program was launched in 1953, and branded Made in America at the time.
Currently, under the rules of the broadband stimulus program, issued officially on July 9, for the Round I funding cycle, neither RUS nor its sister agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce, grant any competitive points or other incentives to service providers using equipment from manufacturers that are certificated under the RUS Made in America program.
Although USDA officials have continued to state they welcome the use of such RUS-accepted gear by applicants for funding, and despite the strong calls by organized labor to strictly enforce the Buy America provisions of ARRA, those provisions were waived for most categories of telecom equipment in Round I.
American network equipment makers that have appreciable levels of foreign content in their global supply chains exerted intense lobbying pressure on the Obama Administration against strict domestic content rules for the broadband programs under ARRA. Leading gear maker Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was in the forefront of the successful effort which resulted in the issuance of Buy America waivers by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce in July of this year.
No allowance has been made to proactively favor certificated manufacturers that have their equipment included in bills of materials within provider's applications submitted for ARRA funding.
Even if the rules now being worked on by NTIA and RUS for the second and final funding round of the "broadband stim" program are not amended to give such incentives, the Telecommunications Programs of the Rural Development section of USDA will continue in the years ahead with funding under the various Farm Bills voted Congress.
Thus, wireline and wireless and wireline equipment makers that are RUS certified will continue to gain competitive advantage in the rural provider market sector.
Gear makers that have announced RUS certification in recent months for specific products and product lines include: ADC Telecommunications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADCT), Alloptic, Alvarion, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ALVR), Aurora Networks, Axxcelera Broadband Wireless, Harris Stratex (NASDAQ: HSTX), Meraki Inc., Telco Systems, and Zhone Technologies (NASDAQ: ZHNE).
ATN Metro Edge Platform
The Infinera ATN metro edge platform is a compact, scalable metro edge platform offering flexible configurations to simplify and accelerate network deployment. The ATN has been designed to offer best-in-class density and power consumption, and to support all metro transport services, including Ethernet, SAN, SONET/SDH, OTN and video services.
Seamless integration with the Infinera DTN platform enables an end-to-end Infinera network to deliver ease of operation, capital expenditure savings, integrated bandwidth management, and the power of a single network management system. Infinera is supporting customers nationwide who have applied for grants to build broadband networks to unserved and underserved communities, including anchor institutions such as schools, higher education, and health care facilities.
Infinera networks provide a scalable, cost-effective middle-mile solution with low-cost, simple operations ideal for the new wave of broadband networks. The new Infinera ATN has been purchased by large and small service providers in the US and overseas. Last month, Deltacom announced it had deployed the ATN in several metro markets in the southeastern U.S.
The Infinera DTN, the company's optical system for long-haul and metro core networks, was approved for RUS listing in February 2009.
The Infinera family of optical solutions includes the Infinera DTN, the first optical system based on large-scale photonic integrated circuits, and the Infinera ATN, a compact metro edge platform that extends Infinera’s Digital Optical Networks to the metro edge. StimulatingBroadband.com