This week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded $42 million in the final award from the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund’s first Notice of Funding Opportunity. Additional awards will come after NTIA issues the next Notice of Funding Opportunity.
According to a press release, this award will fund a project by a consortium of U.S. carriers, foreign carriers, universities and equipment suppliers to establish a testing, evaluation and R&D center in the Dallas Technology Corridor and a satellite facility in the Washington, D.C area. The center will focus testing on network performance, interoperability, security, and facilitate research into new testing methods.
Testing and evaluation facilities will aim to make industry-standard testing more accessible to new market players – both in the U.S. and in partner nations – and hopefully encourage greater collaboration across different industries.
“Spurring innovation and competition in wireless technologies is vital to U.S. economic and national security,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This $42 million award marks $140 million in investments through the Wireless Innovation Fund, underscoring the impact of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda in action. These grants are supporting facilities and advancing research that will unlock new opportunities for America to lead in the global telecommunications market, strengthen our supply chains and drive down costs.”
According to the announcement, by investing in open, interoperable networks, "NTIA is laying the foundation for a stronger, more secure and more resilient telecommunications supply chain. The transition to open networks will enable the U.S. and its global partners to lead the next generation of wireless innovation."
“5G is a dynamic technology, but today’s market for wireless equipment is static and highly consolidated” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “Our Wireless Innovation Fund aims to change that. With today’s grant, we have awarded more than $140 million to foster an open, resilient and secure mobile ecosystem.”
With this grant, NTIA has awarded $140 million from the Wireless Innovation Fund, a 10-year, $1.5 billion program to support the development of open and interoperable wireless networks. The grant announced this week is the fourth round of funding from the first Notice of Funding Opportunity.
AT&T and Verizon will lead the project. Japanese telecommunications company NTT DOCOMO and India’s Reliance Jio are unfunded, founding members of the consortium. The University of Texas at Dallas will assist in the maintenance of the Dallas-area center, while Virginia Tech, Northeastern University, Iowa State University and Rutgers University will provide neutral laboratory support.
The funding totals $42,299,693.72 for the Acceleration of Compatibility and Commercialization for Open RAN Deployments (ACCoRD) project. The suppliers for ACCoRD include Microsoft, Nokia, Radisys, Airspan, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Rakuten, Samsung, Mavenir, VMWare, RedHat, Wind River, Ciena, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Amdocs, Keysight, and VIAVI.
Funded by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the Innovation Fund will invest $1.5 billion over the next decade to "support the development of open and interoperable networks."