FCC Proposes Technology Innovation Zones for Raleigh, Boston

The FCC is proposing designating Raleigh, N.C. and Boston, Mass. as FCC innovation zones. The zones are city-wide test beds managed by the National Science Foundation’s Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research.

The designations, which will be voted on by the FCC at its Aug. 5 open meeting, are designed to help drive the integration and development of open radio networks (Open RAN) and 5G network technologies. Salt Lake City and the city of New York were the first municipalities to receive these designations, which occurred in September of 2019.

The FCC has been taking a closer look at Open RAN, hosting a showcase on the technology last week. The latest testbeds will help the FCC determine how to support new competitors and competitiveness in this emerging market.

The Boston Innovation Zone, at Northeastern University, is designed to support the transition of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Colosseum network emulator — the world’s largest — into a shared platform that the research community can use.

The Raleigh Innovation Zone, in collaboration with North Carolina State University, will concentrate on wireless communications and unmanned aerial systems use cases and will house the Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless (AERPAW).

“These Innovation Zones will support cutting-edge research and development that is crucial for advancing our wireless leadership,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC acting chairwoman, in a prepared statement. pdf “Moreover, by bringing together operators, vendors, vertical interests and other government agencies, we are helping to spur a market for more secure and open 5G technologies. I am grateful to city and research facility leaders and our partners at the National Science Foundation, for working with us to deliver these opportunities.”


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