Yesterday the FCC voted to adopt new rules that would facilitate the development of 5G wireless networks. Today the Obama Administration announced that it will launch launch a $400 million Advanced Wireless Research Initiative led by the National Science Foundation (NSF).The administration claimed that these next steps are simply building on the “President’s legacy of forward-leaning broadband policy”.
When President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, he funded nearly $5 billion in broadband investments. This included more than 114,000 miles of broadband infrastructure. He supported “Dig Once” policies for fiber-optic along roads and highways and offered tax incentives to convince companies to invest in broadband. President Obama wanted to make available 500 MHz of federal and non-federal spectrum by 2020 for mobile and fixed wireless broadband use as well. The Administration has so far made available half of that amount.
The Administration noted that wireless operators have already invested nearly $150 billion in 4G LTE technology since 2010. This amount includes an $85 million investment in advanced wireless testing platforms by a public-private effort, including NSF and more than twenty technology companies and associations. The NSF plans to invest an additional $350 million over the next seven years in academic research that can utilize these testing platforms.
Several organizations and companies have plans to jump on the 5G bandwagon. The NSF in particular has numerous agendas. It announced the following:
- Two prize challenges to enhance wireless broadband connectivity.
- A $6 million jointly-funded solicitation with Intel Labs on information-centric wireless edge networks
- A $4.7 million joint NSF- and Academy of Finland-funded solicitation to support joint U.S.-Finland research projects
- Federal funding of a Millimeter Wave Research Coordination Network A large-scale networking platforms “Communities of Practice” workshop
- Follow-on NSF workshop on ultra-low latency networks