On Friday, July 15, the Obama administration pledged to invest more than $400 million over the next decade on 5G research.
The plan of the American administration to develop 5G networks is detailed on the White House's official website. According to PCMag, the vast majority of the funds will come from the National Science Foundation (NFS).
In the year 2017, it is planned to start building advanced wireless testing platforms in four cities selected via competition. The four winning cities will get city-wide radio antennas. Private and public researchers will be able to test 5G technologies in a real-world setting.
Over the next five years, the NSF agency plans to spend around $50 million on the program. More than $350 million are also committed by the agency to fund workshops, prizes and international collaborations to test and develop devices, networks and protocols for the Internet of Things (IoS).
This includes everything from the time it takes for data to arrive after a device requests it, to a workshop focused on reducing latency, or a challenge to restore critical communications in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Self-driving cars and emergency response require ultra-low latency networks. The NSF will join many companies, from Intel to T-Mobile, in their efforts of studying ways to reduce latency in 5G networks.
As part of today's announcement, other federal agencies have to commit themselves to 5G research. Among them is included the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency plans to use 5G test platforms in its competition for teams building robotic vehicles, as part of the new Spectrum Challenge component.
Many tech companies, including Samsung, Intel, HTC, Nokia, AT&T and Qualcomm also pledged their support for the government's research projects. The companies are working already on their own 5G projects and they will offer engineering equipment, guidance as well as financial support.
According to USA Today, among the expected breakthroughs listed in the administration's plan are included improved self-driving vehicles, live high-res video transmissions from first-responders to emergency rooms and mobile phones and tablets that can download a movie in less than five seconds. Other expected applications of the 5G networks are virtual reality job training simulators and Gigabit-speed wireless broadband available in businesses and public places.