FCC considers adding ‘innovation zones’ in Raleigh, Boston

The Federal Communications Commission will vote this week on whether to add two more places to its list of wireless innovation zones: Raleigh, North Carolina and Boston, Massachusetts. Acting President Jessica Rosenzursel proposed adding the two seats last week.

Raleigh’s location, in the North Carolina Research Triangle, is already part of the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Wireless Research Platforms (PAWR) program, and its test body is under construction, which is expected to enter the network later this year. year. The FCC will determine both this location and the new home of the Colosseum of the Advanced Defense Research Projects Agency – the massive software-defined radio test field that serves as a virtual battlefield for the three-year spectrum cooperation challenge, and which now resides physically at Northeastern University – as FCC innovation zones, in order to reduce the bureaucracy surrounding the use of FCC experimental licenses in these locations. The definition of an innovation zone will expand the areas in which entities that already have experimental licenses can conduct tests – so if you have an experimental license with permission to operate elsewhere, you can also use an innovation zone and conduct a number of unrelated experiments in the area.

FCC went through this process for the other two existing PAWR test sites in New York and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The three tests of the PAWR program include one in Salt Lake City, Utah with a software-defined end-to-end wireless network and massive MIMO; one in West Harlem, New York, focused on mmWave research and innovation in transfer technology; and a third, built in the North Carolina Research Triangle area, which focuses on wireless communications and unmanned aerial vehicles. The National Science Foundation, which funds the $ 100 million PAWR program administered by US Ignite, announced the location from the fourth test, Agriculture and rural communities, or ARA, in June.

The FCC’s proposed action will also change the current modification of the New York Innovation Zone, known as COSMOS, to cover the three areas of Columbia University and New York City College.

The FCC said the innovation zone designations would also “support the development and integration of 5G network technologies and open radio access networks or Open RANs.”

“These innovation zones will support cutting-edge research and development, which is crucial to the advancement of our wireless leadership,” Rosenuresel said in a statement. “In addition, by bringing together operators, suppliers, vertical interests and other government agencies, we are helping to stimulate the market for more secure and open 5G technologies.”

The FCC said the Boston site will support the Colosseum’s transition to a shared platform that will be usable by researchers, so a platform that can emulate a full stack of communications and support AI and ML algorithms could “lead academia.” , government and industry researchers together to accelerate advances in wireless networking systems and Open RAN. “

The Raleigh Innovation Zone will include an Advanced Wireless Networking and Research Platform (AERPAW), in collaboration with North Carolina State University, which is the first test site to allow large-scale testing of modern wireless technologies for unmanned aerial vehicles. apparatus, including in scenarios beyond visual visibility.

The FCC will vote on the proposal at its meeting on August 5.