Verizon, AT&T, Intel, Nokia and more back White House initiative for 5G

The Obama administration said the U.S. will spend $400 million over the next seven years to research and develop next-generation wireless technologies.

The White House unveiled the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, which will be led by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and aims to help create new networking technology in four "city-scale" testing platforms. The effort is backed by heavyweights including all four major U.S. mobile carriers as well as HTC, Intel, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and others.

The effort is designed to build on the FCC's unanimous approval this week of the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding, which will unlock bands above 24 GHz for 5G use. The rules open 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum in a move that was widely hailed by companies throughout the wireless industry as crucial for the rapid advancement of 5G technologies and services.

"Collectively, these spectrum policy and research efforts will accelerate the deployment of a new generation of wireless networks that are up to 100 times faster than today," the Obama administration said in a press release. "These super-fast, ultra-low latency, high-capacity networks will enable breakthrough applications for consumers, smart cities, and the Internet of Things that cannot even be imagined today."

The initiative will launch with an $85 million investment in advanced wireless testing platforms "by a public-private effort, including NSF and more than 20 technology companies and associations," and the NSF plans to contribute $350 million more over the next seven years in academic research to back those platforms. The administration said the initiative hopes to enable advances such as:

  • Mobile phones and tablets that can download 100 times faster than current 4G speeds
  • Live, real-time video and sensor data for first responders and emergency room doctors from police vehicles, ambulances and drones, providing information before patients arrive at the hospital
  • Semi- or fully-autonomous vehicles
  • Factories equipped with always-connected smart manufacturing equipment that can diagnose and repair themselves before they break
  • Gigabit-speed wireless broadband in businesses, public transportation stations, stadiums and other public venues
  • Virtual reality training environments and simulators enabling entry-level workers to develop and demonstrate skills in high-demand fields

The White House also announced a series of technical initiatives including a $6 million jointly funded effort with Intel Labs to develop the ability to process huge chunks of information in less than 1 millisecond, and a $4.7 million jointly funded project with the Academy of Finland related to networks and systems for the IoT.

For more:
- see this White House press release

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