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

November 28, 2023

Today, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded $13 million in the second round of grants from the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund’s first Notice of Funding Opportunity.

The $1.5 billion Wireless Innovation Fund supports the development of open and interoperable wireless networks as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda.

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

Members of Congress
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, N.H.:
“The Wireless Innovation Fund will increase our economic competitiveness, enhance our national security, bolster innovation and lower costs in New Hampshire and across the country— all thanks to the CHIPS and Science Act, which I proudly supported and helped get signed into law.”

Sen. Mark Warner, Va.:
“As Congress was negotiating the details of the CHIPS and Science Act last year, I fought hard to ensure that funding for the next generation of wireless technology was included in that legislation. Investments like the ones announced today are critical to reclaiming US leadership in wireless technology and countering the influence of companies like Huawei.”

Sen. Ed Markey, Mass.:
“Thanks to this NTIA grant, Northeastern University will continue its national leadership in developing next generation wireless networks that will spur new innovations, increase competition, and protect our national security. I am proud that Massachusetts remains on the cutting edge of the technologies of tomorrow and that Northeastern is leading the way.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo, Calif.:
“Bravo to the Open Networking Foundation for receiving an Innovation Fund Program grant. Telecommunications networks are the backbone of our economy and have become increasingly important as Americans transition more of their lives online. Open RAN creates diversity in our supply chains and increases competition, which means lower costs for consumers. As we confront the effects of climate change, it’s critical America’s telecommunications networks are as energy efficient as possible and this grant will allow the Open Networking Foundation to do important research that will ensure they are.”

Rep. Ann Kuster, N.H.:
“When we foster research and innovation, we expand access to wireless networks in our communities and for our businesses. I’m thrilled to see this significant funding, made possible by the CHIPS and Science Act, heading to PhasorLab in Nashua to help them build on the advances they have made and continue pursuing progress for our wireless networks here in New Hampshire and beyond.”
Award Recipients
Michigan State University
Huacheng Zeng, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Michigan State University:

“We believe that testing automation is essential for the success of O-RAN. This project focuses on developing AI-centric software tools designed to facilitate the automated testing of O-RAN elements, ensuring their interoperability, security, and performance. The tools generated from this project will significantly reduce the human labor required for testing O-RAN elements.”

Mississippi State University
Vuk Marojevic, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mississippi State University:

“We have a broad research program on 5G/Next-G wireless security and O-RAN and are thrilled for being selected for R&D under NTIA's PWSCIF. This project will contribute to cellular network security metrics. We will leverage software radio technology and the Open Artificial Intelligence Cellular (OAIC) platform for designing and developing testing methods and open-source software implementations of a user equipment-based test instrument, enabling accessible and customizable 5G/O-RAN testing.”

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Lingjia Liu, Professor & Bradley Senior Faculty Fellow in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Director of Wireless@Virginia Tech:

“At Wireless@Virginia Tech, designing resilient and intelligent NextG is a key strategical area and we see O-RAN as an important enabler. We are extremely honored to receive this grant from NTIA’s Public Wireless Innovation Fund to develop machine learning-based testing strategies for O-RAN. Specifically, in this project, we will employ a deep neural network-based learning algorithm to quantify statistical relationship among various testing metrics and find a low-dimensional representation of these metrics. This would not only help us to visualize and organize different tests, but also could lead to more efficient and complete O-RAN tests to improve test efficiency and network resiliency.”

Open Networking Foundation
Sarat Puthenpura, Chief Architect of Open RAN, Open Networking Foundation :

“ONF's Aether SMaRT-5G initiative has been advancing the sustainability of 5G networks, seeding the industry with open source solutions demonstrating advancements in power efficiency with the potential to save billions of dollars annually while significantly reducing the environmental footprint of advanced mobile networks. We are pleased that the NTIA is recognizing the value in this work with funding to research and develop methods to measure the energy efficiency of 5G network components, which will allow us to create and demonstrate energy consumption models to help advance sustainability across the industry. This research will augment the Aether SMaRT-5G initiative, helping to advance the Aether open source platform.”

Joshua Park, Chief Executive Officer, PhasorLab:

“PhasorLab in collaboration with Parallel Wireless and is honored to be a recipient of the grant from NTIA’s Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund. Our goal in 5GLM project is to research and leverage AI methods such as Large Language Models (LLMs) to develop new software tools in the pursuit of 100% cloud-based ORAN 5G testing that is highly scalable. Embracing new all-encompassing AI-driven software test and simulation scenarios and abandoning legacy hardware-constrained specialized testing methods will accelerate the pace of successful 5G ORAN development.”

Northeastern University
Tommaso Melodia, Director of Northeastern University’s Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things :

“We are honored to receive this award, which will add to our Open6G research, development and testing portfolio to shape the future of open, programmable, automated, and AI-driven wireless systems. The DigiRAN project seeks to develop new methodologies to enable a high-fidelity and real-time Wireless Network Digital Twin platform based on our Colosseum testbed to streamline end-to-end testing and evaluation of the performance and interoperability of Open Radio Access Networks.”

Booz Allen Hamilton
Chris Christou, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton:

“Booz Allen is excited to be an awardee in NTIA’s Public Wireless Innovation Fund to foster innovation in 5G and wireless communications. Building upon Booz Allen's longstanding efforts to deliver secure and resilient 5G solutions across the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community, together, via a collaboration under the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative; Virginia Tech’s Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Pamplin College of Business, we will enhance O-RAN security by addressing sophisticated threats by creating more comprehensive security tests and tools that will be open sourced for maximum industry adoption and access.”


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.