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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $420M Funding Opportunity to Promote Wireless Equipment Innovation

May 07, 2024
News Media Contact
NTIA, Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that up to $420 million in funding will be made available to build the radio equipment needed to advance open network adoption in the U.S. and abroad.  

This is the second Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) from the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund and this NOFO aims to drive commercialization and innovation in open radio units. Radio units, which sit at the top of cell phone towers to transmit and receive signals, are the largest and most costly part of the carrier network. Making more open radio units available is critical to spur open network adoption.

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

Funded by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the $1.5 billion Wireless Innovation Fund that this NOFO comes from is a piece of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda, aiming to drive wireless innovation, foster competition, and strengthen supply chain resilience. By supporting the development of open radio units, this second round of funding will help to ensure that wireless technology is built by the U.S. and its global allies and partners – not vendors from nations that threaten our national security.  

“This $420 million investment will help shore up our supply chain and create opportunities for companies from the U.S. and our allies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “Open, interoperable networks will facilitate competition, make our supply chains more secure, and lead to lower costs.”  

This second round of funding targets two critical areas:

  • Open radio unit commercialization: Accelerating the development of open radio units to the point where they meet the needs of wireless carriers and are ready for commercial trials; and
  • Open radio unit innovation: Improving the overall performance and capabilities of open radio units through targeted research and development.

NTIA expects to grant between $25 million and $45 million per commercialization award, and $5 million to $10 million per innovation award. Applications are due July 10.

NTIA has already awarded more than $140 million to 17 grantees through the first Notice of Funding Opportunity. That initial round of investments is supporting testing research and development, and the establishment of testing and evaluation facilities.

NTIA expects to start making awards from this second funding opportunity this fall. Visit the Round 2 (2024) Open RU page to find a link to the second Notice of Funding Opportunity.


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.