The Obama Administration on Friday announced a $400 million initiative led by the National Science Foundation that will conduct research in the area of 5G wireless technology which promises to be up to 100 times faster than today’s 4G LTE.

The Advanced Wireless Research Initiative (AWRI), which builds on the Federal Communications Commission’s recent Spectrum Frontiers vote, will deploy four city-scale testing platforms over the next decade that will be used for advanced wireless research.

Each platform will be comprised of a network of software-defined radio antennas blanketing their respective cities, essentially mimicking existing cellular networks. The White House says this will allow academic researchers, entrepreneurs and wireless companies to test, prove and refine their technologies and software algorithms in a real-world setting.

The cities, which haven’t yet been named, will be selected based on open competition, the administration said.

Yesterday’s FCC vote made the US the first country in the world to free up large quantities of high-frequency millimeter wave spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use.

The White House also said that more than 20 US-based private-sector companies and associations including AT&T, HTC, Intel, Juniper Networks, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have collectively pledged over $35 million to support the design, development, deployment and ongoing operations of the aforementioned testing platforms.

It’s more than just financial backing, however, as the entities will also provide design support, technical networking expertise, networking hardware, software-defined networking switches and routers, cloud computing, experimental handsets and devices, servers and more.

More information on the initiative can be found in the White House’s lengthy press release. You can also learn more about the FCC’s recent vote by clicking here.

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