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White House Unveils $400M NSF-Led Wireless Communications Research Program

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CellTowerThe White House has asked the National Science Foundation to oversee a $400 million program that aims to support wireless communications research efforts.

NSF will invest $50 million in the next five years in projects to design and establish wireless testing platforms in four cities as part of the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, the White House said Friday.

The agency will launch an open competition to select four cities that will field a network of software-defined radio antennas designed to help researchers and companies test their software algorithms and related platforms.

NSF also plans to provide $350 million in additional funds over the next seven years through the initiative to support academic research efforts that aim to facilitate the use of the four city-scale testing platforms in the evaluation of wireless communications technologies

The White House said the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative builds on President Barack Obama’s wireline and wireless broadband policy and the decision of the Federal Communications Commission to approve the Spectrum Frontiers rule that seeks to increase the availability of millimeter wave bands for both unlicensed and licensed use.

Companies that plan to contribute to the establishment of the four city-scale wireless testing platforms include AT&T, Carlson Wireless Technologies, CommScope, HTC, Intel, InterDigital, Juniper Networks, Keysight Technologies, National Instruments, Nokia in partnership with Nokia Bell Labs, Oracle, Qualcomm, Samsung, Shared Spectrum, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon and Viavi Solutions.

The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, CTIA and the Telecommunications Industry Association have also pledged to offer technical support to the testing platform development projects.

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