Supply Chain

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded more than $13 million in grants from the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund.

This is the second round of grants from the fund’s first Notice of Funding Opportunity. The program, also known simply as the Wireless Innovation Fund, has a budget of $1.5 billion , which is designed to support the development of open and interoperable wireless networks. This will drive competition, strengthen global supply chain resilience, and lower costs for network operators and consumers, according to NTIA, which is part of the Department of Commerce.

The projects in this round of funding support research and development on testing methods: furthering security and energy efficiency testing, automating the testing process, and utilizing artificial intelligence to improve network and software testing, NTIA said.

The Wireless Innovation Fund was created in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. NTIA awarded almost $5.5 million in the first round, which was announced in August.

The total awarded in this round is $13,008,526. The seven projects span six states. The winners:

  • Open Networking Foundation was awarded $1.96 million for its project, “5G Energy Efficiency: Metrics, Models, and Systems Tests.”
  • Northeastern University was awarded almost $2 million for the project, “DigiRAN: High-Fidelity Digital Twins for Interoperability, Security and Performance Testing of Open RAN Systems.”
  • Mississippi State University was awarded $1.32 million for “Testing Methods R&D on Security Metrics, Measures, and Test Procedures for Accessible and Customizable Testing.”
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was awarded $2 million for “Learning-Based ORAN Testing.”
  • PhasorLab was awarded nearly $2 million for the project, “5GLM: A Large Language Model to Simulate UE Models at Scale with Applications to Realistic ORAN Network Testing.”
  • Booz Allen Hamilton was awarded $1.99 million for its project, “Enhancing O-RAN Systems Against Sophisticated Attacks.”
  • Michigan State University was awarded $1.73 million for, “AI-Enabled Efficient Testing and Evaluation for RU, DU, and CU Components of 5G Radio Access Networks.”

Alan Davidson, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator described the fund in May. He said that investments will be made in wireless technology to “unlock opportunities for new and emerging companies.”

Davidson said that the fund “will help us develop the global telecom market, strengthen our supply chain and give our allies trusted choices.  It’s a long project — it will take a decade or more — and to get there, we need your help.”

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