NTIA to Award Up to $420M for Wireless Equipment Innovation

NTIA to Award Up to $420M for Wireless Equipment Innovation

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that a $420 million fund will be raised to advance open network adoption in the U.S. and abroad.

This turns out to be the second Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) from the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund.

The major aim of the notice is to drive commercialization and innovation in open radio units.

NTIA said that radio units are essential components that sit over the top of cell phone towers and are responsible for transmitting and receiving signals.

These units are large and expensive parts of the carrier network. Increasing the availability of open radio units is crucial to encouraging the adoption of open networks.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo released the statement, “To secure our telecom supply chain, America and its allies need to build more innovative, affordable, and secure wireless equipment.”

He added, “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are fueling the next generation of wireless innovation that will help ensure our national and economic security.”

NTIA to Award Up to $420M for Wireless Equipment Innovation
NTIA to Award Up to $420M for Wireless Equipment Innovation

In addition to Gina’s statement, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson also said, “This $420 million investment will help shore up our supply chain and create opportunities for companies from the U.S. and our allies.”

He further added, “Open, interoperable networks will facilitate competition, make our supply chains more secure, and lead to lower costs.”

An Overview of Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity) is part of the $1.5 billion Wireless Innovation Fund, which was established by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

Being one of the major components of the Biden-Harris Administration, it aims to boost wireless innovation, promote competition, and enhance the resilience of the supply chain.

With its first round of investments, NTIA has already awarded more than $140 million to support testing research and development and the establishment of testing and evaluation facilities.

With its second round of funding, NTIA seeks to ensure that wireless technology is created by the United States rather than relying on vendors from countries that pose national security risks.

  • The second NOFO is expected to be awarded in two categories – open radio unit commercialization grants and open radio unit innovation grants.
  • Open radio unit commercialization to receive $25 million and $45 million for speeding up the development of open radio units so they can meet the requirements of wireless carriers and be ready for commercial testing.
  • Open radio unit innovation to receive $5 million to $10 million for enhancing the overall performance and capabilities of open radio units through targeted research and development efforts.

The funding applications must be submitted by July 10, and NTIA expects to release the recipients’ names soon.

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Eliana Cooper

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