When the FCC’s incentive auction concludes and $1.75 billion in repack assistance funds go up for grabs, GatesAir wants U.S. tower and antenna manufacturers to get first dibs.
In an FCC filing, GatesAir asked that the FCC adopt specific guidelines giving preference to U.S. manufacturers and service providers, citing the 1933 Buy American Act.
“When the repack of U.S. broadcasters takes place, many foreign competitors will show up in the U.S., most without any real installation base or knowledge of the customer. They will lower their prices and dump their inferior products in order to get a short-term piece of the U.S. market,” GatesAir wrote.
The company said that when filing similar tenders in other countries, it has seen the “cards are stacked against U.S. companies” through “onerous” duties or taxes, financing requirements, or direct decree to purchase locally or regionally.
“U.S. companies should not face similar adversities in our home market,” GatesAir wrote.
GatesAir said it has in the past few years been making plans and adjustments in order to help broadcasters stick to the FCC’s 39-month repacking timeline. Specifically, GatesAir said it moved all of its foreign manufacturing back to its Quincy, Illinois, factory so it can ramp up production to meet the upcoming demand. The company said it also spent between $8 million and $10 million in product development for equipment specifically related to the post-incentive auction process.
GatesAir went on to cite President-Elect Donald Trump’s campaign platform as the reason why U.S. manufacturers should get preferential treatment during the channel repack process.
“Allowing foreign manufacturers and service providers to participate and be reimbursed will mean the potential loss of U.S. job opportunities. Our President-Elect has made it a priority to promote new jobs in the United States. This is an American initiative which will build the American infrastructure, and thus should benefit American jobs,” GatesAir wrote.