The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is requesting comments on the development and implementation of the Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, a 10-year grant program intended to support the promotion and deployment of open, interoperable, and standards-based radio access networks (RAN). NTIA seeks broad input and feedback from all interested stakeholders—including private industry, academia, civil society, and other experts—by January 27.
The grant program is a $1.5 billion investment funded through the CHIPS and Science Act that was signed into law by President Biden in August 2022. The program will help to support U.S. leadership in the global telecommunications ecosystem, foster competition, lower costs for consumers and network operators, and strengthen the supply chain. NTIA reports that it will also help unlock opportunities for U.S. companies, particularly small and medium enterprises, to compete in a market historically dominated by a few foreign suppliers, including high-risk suppliers that raise security concerns.
Among several key priorities noted in the December 13 Federal Register, the Innovation Fund aims to accelerate commercial deployments of open interface, standards-based, interoperable equipment; promote and deploy compatibility of new 5G equipment with future open standards–based, interoperable equipment; and support accelerating commercial deployments of open interface, standards-based, interoperable equipment, in addition to other activities.
NTIA is seeking comments on: (1) practical solutions to the key challenges to adoption of open and interoperable, standards-based RAN; (2) recommendations for the kinds of projects that the Innovation Fund should support; and (3) the kinds of criteria that should inform how Innovation Fund grants are awarded.
Access the Federal Register, which includes additional questions on technology development and standards, and security. Write to [email protected] with any questions and email [email protected] directly to sign up for future Innovation Fund announcements.