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White House pledges $400M for next-gen wireless tech

The initiative aims to improve wireless speeds and make superfast 5G Wi-Fi more widely available.


The White House commits $400 million to ensure 5G wireless connectivity becomes a reality for everyone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Obama Administration on Friday announced a new funding initiative to ensure the U.S. maintains its leadership in the mobile technology space.

The $400 million Advanced Wireless Research Initiative will be led by the National Science Foundation and aims to develop and advance wireless technology to 5G and beyond.

"Collectively, these spectrum policy and research efforts will accelerate the deployment of a new generation of wireless networks that are up to 100 times faster than today," the White House wrote in a press release. "These super-fast, ultra-low latency, high-capacity networks will enable breakthrough applications for consumers, smart cities, and the Internet of Things that cannot even be imagined today."

The initiative includes an $85 million investment in advanced wireless testing platforms that comes from the NSF and more than 20 technology companies, including Samsung, Intel and Verizon. The foundation also said that it will invest an additional $350 million over the next seven years in academic research to test these platforms.

The White House outlined possible advancements the initiative could help aide in making a reality within the next decade. Those include consumers being able to download full-length HD movies in less than 5 seconds, seeing gigabit-speed Wi-Fi in businesses, schools and other public spaces, and using virtual reality simulations to help workers develop new skills.