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What They’re Saying: Biden-Harris Administration Awards Grant from Wireless Innovation Fund

February 12, 2024

Today, the Department of Commerce’s 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.

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.

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 today is the fourth round of funding from the first Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Here’s what they are saying about today’s Wireless Innovation Fund grant:

Members of Congress
Senator John Cornyn, TX:
“Digital communication plays an indispensable role in our daily lives, and we need to ensure more Texans have access to reliable and affordable wireless networks across the state. This funding will help bolster the wireless network supply chain, encourage competition, and lower costs for consumers, and I’m glad UTD and the State of Texas are playing a leading role in the effort.”

Senator Mark Warner, Va
“I wrote the legislation that created the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund back in 2020, because the United States needs to lead the next generation of wireless innovation. I’m excited to see this announcement that will spur the O-RAN ecosystem forward, and I applaud the members of this consortium on their efforts to come together and tackle critical issues like security and interoperability for O-RAN.”

Senator Tim Kaine, Va.:
“I’m thrilled that the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act is helping Northern Virginia lead the way with this project to onshore crucial technology. I voted for this legislation to spur the development of new technologies, strengthen our national and cybersecurity, and bolster our supply chains. I look forward to seeing it continue to boost our economy and security in the years to come.”

Representative Gerry Connolly, Va.:
“For people across America, connectivity is not just a convenience, it is a necessity. They rely on the internet to access telemedicine and online health resources, government service portals, and keep in touch with loved ones far away. I am thrilled that the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund grant will support groundbreaking research to accelerate internet speeds, fortify network security measures, and reduce costs for both consumers and network operators. Thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, this program will unleash wireless innovation, competition, and supply chain resilience for communities nationwide.”

Representative Donald Beyer, Va.:
“It is great to see NTIA’s plans to transition to and support Open Radio Access Networks. The country needs robust wireless networks to provide the coverage we need across the country, and secure, interoperable components will be instrumental for our wireless ecosystem moving into 5G and beyond. I am very pleased to some of the $1.5 billion that Congress funded in the CHIPS & Science Act for this effort make its way back to Northern Virginia to help.”

Representative Collin Allred, Tex.:
“Our economy depends on us strengthening and protecting our wireless networks through secure solutions like Open RAN, which allows different components of the network to be produced by different companies. Now, thanks to our work to pass the Chips and Science Act, a group of carriers and universities in the Dallas area will receive more than $42 million in federal funding to establish a research and testing center to accelerate the adoption of Open RAN. This is an important step as we work to strengthen wireless network supply chains and secure these networks from untrusted vendors.”
Consortium Members and Suppliers
Yigal Elbaz, Senior Vice President Network CTO:

“We are grateful to NTIA for this grant and proud to be a leader of this diverse consortium. Together, this group will break new ground in testing and evaluation of Open RAN products, which will help operators feel confident that these products will work together at scale. We look forward to working with our industry counterparts to help facilitate a more innovative marketplace for wireless infrastructure.”

Joe Russo, Executive Vice President & President, Global Network and Technology:

“We applaud the NTIA, Congress, and our industry partners who have recognized the need for advancing innovation, interoperability and supplier diversity within the telecommunications industry and have brought together a consortium of carriers, vendors and developers to directionally advance this important technology evolution. The transition to Open RAN has the potential to bring many benefits in terms of deployment flexibility, faster innovation in an open environment, and greater service options by increasing the opportunity for new entrants to provide competitive and advanced solutions. The work resulting from this grant will drive the evolution of multi-vendor ORAN capabilities to a level of reliability and performance our customers have come to expect. More competition, more innovation, exceptional performance, and increased supplier diversity will all be net benefits to operators and customers. We are pleased to join AT&T in leading this consortium to build on the substantial work we have driven in this area and drive adoption across the industry at scale.”

Sadayuki Abeta, Global Head of Open RAN Solutions and OREX Evangelist:

“We highly appreciate this award and believe that this initiative will greatly contribute to achieve Open RAN which is truly open and interoperable, leading to secure mobile networks for 5G and beyond. NTT DOCOMO has realized multi-vendor RAN from LTE era and also deployed Open RAN nation-wide for 5G commercial services in Japan. Further, we launched OREX with our partners and have conducted verification and trials with various vRAN stacks. With these experiences, we are confident that DOCOMO can significantly contribute to this initiative through the consortium we co-founded.”

Reliance Jio
Bob Pippert, Vice President, New Technology Development:

“We have supported Open RAN from its inception along with other leading operators. And with the efforts by the NTIA—this can boost inclusivity and innovation across the industry. Working along with ATT, VZ, NTT, Radisys and the NTIA we look forward to creating not just a highly secure Open RAN architecture across hardware and platforms but being a key catalyst in bringing scale and aggressively growing the Open RAN ecosystem.”



About the National Telecommunications and Information Administration  

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, advancing public safety communications, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.