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Vice President Kamala Harris visits Wisconsin to bring 200 Nokia jobs to the state

05. 08. 2023 Saturday / By: Robert Denes / Business / Exact time: BST / Print this page

The new jobs were created as a result of "Bidenomics," the vice president said at an event with Commerce Secretary Senator Baldwin. During a visit to Wisconsin on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris praised Nokia's plans to manufacture broadband networking electronics products in Kenosha County, which could bring up to 200 jobs to the area.

The Finnish company will manufacture these products in cooperation with Sanmina Corporation at Sanmina's Pleasant Prairie manufacturing facility. The company says the products will be the first to be manufactured in the United States and used as part of a federal program to bring high-speed Internet to underserved areas.

"In 21st century America, high-speed Internet is not a luxury, it's a basic necessity," Harris said after touring the factory Thursday.

"President Biden and I are delivering on our promise to strengthen our economy by investing in working people, expanding domestic manufacturing, empowering small business owners, and rebuilding our nation's infrastructure — today's announcement is a direct result of that work," Harris also said

"Our investments in broadband infrastructure will create jobs in Wisconsin and across the country and increase access to reliable, high-speed Internet so that everyone in America has the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century.".

Nokia will manufacture fiber broadband electronics for the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment, or BEAD, program. Harris' announcement and visit come a month after Wisconsin received more than $1 billion in federal funds to expand high-speed Internet access statewide through BEAD. According to the White House, just over 250,000 homes and small businesses in Wisconsin do not have access to a high-speed Internet connection.

"I'm very excited to be here because right now thousands of people in Wisconsin don't have internet, and that's not fair, that's not right," said US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during the visit.

Most of the electronic products used in the high-speed Internet industry are not currently manufactured in the United States. The BEAD program and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law want to change that.

US Senator Tammy Baldwin, who joined Harris during the visit, said she was excited by Nokia's announcement.

"Today's announcement shows that bipartisan infrastructure legislation is not just about our roads, bridges and broadband, but about investing in our people, our economy and our future," Baldwin said.

Nokia is the country's leading provider of fiber optic broadband technology, according to the company's announcement. Fiber optic networks use racks of glass to transmit data with light and "have become the backbone of today's digital economy, connecting everything with fast, reliable gigabit data services," it said.

"By manufacturing fiber optic technology in the United States, Nokia will be able to bring its products and services to critical projects like BEAD that focus on bridging the digital divide, contributing to the country's economic growth and job creation." the statement continued.

Nokia CEO and President Pekka Lundmark said that 7 out of 10 fiber connections in North America use Nokia equipment.

Jure Sola, president and CEO of Sanmina Corporation, said in a statement that the partnership will support American jobs.

"By continuing to invest in domestic manufacturing, Nokia and Sanmina can help create a sustainable future for the industry that encourages job growth and ensures that the fiber products produced embody the quality and excellence associated with American manufacturing," said Sola.

The vice president's visit to Wisconsin was his fourth visit to the state since taking office and his most recent since coming to Milwaukee last fall to address the Democratic Attorneys General Association political conference.

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