Adtran plans to invest up to $5 million at its manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Alabama, to increase the production of telecom equipment. It’s making this investment to meet the expected demand from BEAD fiber projects and also to help companies comply with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Buy America requirements.

Speaking at a media briefing yesterday, NTIA chief Alan Davidson said, “We have been talking about the digital divide for over 25 years. We now have the resources to do something serious about it.” He added that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which includes BEAD, is more than just a broadband program. It’s also a jobs program. “In short, if it can be made in America, it should be made in America.”

Asked when the agency would publish its Buy America rules, he said NTIA promised it would publish a draft of its Buy America rules for comment by the end of summer, and it will stick to that pledge.

Adtran’s expansion

Adtran will expand its manufacturing capacity at its existing 270,000-sq-foot manufacturing facility. The expansion will focus on making more optical line termination (OLT) equipment and preparing to onshore the manufacturing of optical network terminals (ONTs). 

Adtran CEO Tom Stanton said Adtran has made decisions over the past year in anticipation of this move. For instance, it’s brought assemblies from overseas back to the U.S., starting with some of its more complex infrastructure equipment and then relocating assemblies for “some of the end devices that actually sit in the home.”

He said Adtran has already increased production at its Huntsville facility this past year by roughly 15% and expects to increase it by at least another 15% from other locations around the world.

In terms of the $5 million investment, Stanton said, “We typically would do about one-quarter of that. This [investment] is on top of that.”


As part of its investment, Adtran plans to create up to 300 new jobs in Alabama, adding to its existing American workforce of more than 1,400 employees.

Asked if it would be difficult to find 300 more employees, considering the worker shortage in America, Stanton said, “There are different pockets of real labor tightness. We’ve had really good luck of hiring people in the Huntsville area. We got an early jump on this. We have open positions now, by the way.”

The company is partnering with local high schools for its apprenticeship program and it’s developing a co-op program for college students. 

“The diversity of Adtran’s workforce reflects the diversity of Alabama: People of color make up over 40% of Adtran’s manufacturing team and one-third identify as African American. 57% of manufacturing employees are women, compared to a manufacturing industry average of just 30%,” stated the company in its announcement.

Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor to the President and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator, said on yesterday’s media call that the new jobs would be “jobs that can support a family.”

Some of Adtran’s thunder may have been stolen by Nokia, which this month announced that it would team with longtime manufacturing partner Sanmina to bring production of fiber network electronics to Wisconsin.