FCC Test Beds for Wireless Research Launch in New York, Salt Lake City
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | Comments

The FCC created its first two Innovation Zones, one in New York City and one in Salt Lake City. The city-scale test beds are for advanced wireless communications and network research, including 5G networks.

These wireless technology test beds extend the geographic areas in which already-licensed experimental program licensees can conduct tests. Under the initiative, parties have flexibility to conduct multiple nonrelated experiments under a single authorization within a defined geographic area to develop new technologies and services while protecting incumbent services against harmful interference.

This initiative allows experimental program license holders that are licensed to operate elsewhere to also use the New York City and Salt Lake City Innovation Zones. Parties must comply with each zone’s FCC-established guidelines, under the zone administrator’s guidance, and provide advanced notice of their project.

“Few concepts are more central to America than experimentation and innovation,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “These projects will test new advanced technologies and prototype networks like those that can support 5G technologies. We’re also establishing a process to ensure new innovators can have access to this testing resource while protecting current, licensed users.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Platform for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) formally proposed these particular zones, saying they “will enable experimental exploration of robust new wireless devices, communication techniques, networks, systems and services that will revolutionize the nation's wireless ecosystem, thereby enhancing broadband connectivity, leveraging the emerging internet of things (IoT), and sustaining U.S. leadership and economic competitiveness for decades to come.”

The New York City zone will support Cloud Enhanced Open Software Defined Mobile Wireless Testbed for City-Scale Deployment (COSMOS). COSMOS, located in West Harlem, will be run jointly by Rutgers University, Columbia University and New York University, in partnership with the city of New York.

The Salt Lake City zone will support A Platform for Open Wireless Data-driven Experimental Research (POWDER) with massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) capabilities. The project, which will operate in several connected corridors of the city, will be run jointly by the University of Utah and Rice University, in partnership with Salt Lake City.

The NSF selected smart city-research organization US Ignite and Northeastern University to form the PAWR Project Office, which manages the $100 million public-private partnership, oversees the research platforms and serves as frequency coordinator for each zone. The initiative builds off the FCC’s 2013 rulemaking to update its experimental radio service program.

More information is here. The spectrum details for each city are here.

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