Today we join the National Science Foundation, as well as a consortium of 28 networking companies, in celebrating the recipients of the Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program’s first-ever award selection process. It gives us great pleasure to announce that two research platforms, to be based in Salt Lake City and New York City, will be developed and deployed thanks to support from NSF and our industry partners. These testbeds promise to yield massive breakthroughs in wireless technology ensuring U.S. leadership in this field for decades to come.

These are the first participants in the PAWR program coordinated and managed through the assistance of the PAWR Project Office (PPO), funded by NSF and operated by US Ignite and Northeastern University. The POWDER-RENEW research testbed will reach 40,000 potential users in the Salt Lake City area, and the COSMOS platform will explore ultra-high bandwidth, low-latency wireless capabilities and stimulate untold innovations in the West Harlem area of New York City.  Pictures from the POWDER-RENEW launch are here.

Over the next seven years, NSF has committed $50 million to the program, while the PAWR Industry Consortium—the leading equipment vendors, device manufacturers, and carriers of the wireless space—has committed $50 million in cash and in-kind contributions.

When US Ignite and Northeastern University were chosen to run the PAWR project,  representing $100 million in wireless research investment for four city-scale testbeds across the country, we knew that we were embarking on an extraordinary endeavor in networking research and technology. This was a chance to bring research universities, local communities, and private sector leaders together for something special: a collection of open, real-world networks for developing and testing new applications at scale with tremendous efficiency.

These networks are the foundation for a new breed of services rapidly becoming possible in neighborhoods and municipalities across the country. When real-time results from sensors that monitor air pollution travel in milliseconds to community members many miles away who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems, they’re doing so thanks to networks like these. When first responders and surgeons need a faster means of sharing data during emergencies, networks like these make it happen. One day soon, we’ll look back on the launch of these platforms as the beginning of a paradigm shift, a profound transformation of the fundamental ways in which we as Americans work, live, learn, and play in society.

It all starts with partnership. So on behalf of the entire US Ignite team, we would like to congratulate the new members of our community in COSMOS and POWDER-RENEW as well as our established partners at the National Science Foundation and leading the wireless industry. We eagerly anticipate the future of wireless devices, communication techniques, networks, systems, and services that improve on the status quo to provide public benefit—and as always, we look forward to getting there together.

In addition to announcing the selection of the first two platforms, the PPO has also released a Request for Information (RFI) asking for your ideas about the focus areas for the next platforms. Please consider voicing your opinion and sending us an RFI response before May 31, 2018.

We want you there with us, too! Follow us on Twitter and sign up to receive more information about this groundbreaking program and our two inaugural PAWR research platforms.