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The National Spectrum Consortium will award $2.5 billion for rapid prototyping for the electromagnetic spectrum. 5G, cloud computing and augmented reality are some of the technologies recipients of the funding will explore.

“I think a couple of things that strike me about Spectrum Forward and this opportunity is, one, it’s a doubling of our prior effort in spectrum and wireless with the Department of Defense,” said Sal D’Itri, Chairman of the National Spectrum Consortium and Vice President and General Manager of Federal for Federated Wireless. He described the growth of 5G globally as well as the launch of spectrum sharing in the U.S.

From the perspective of spectrum as a warfighting domain, D’Itri said, “the country that has ubiquitous connectivity is going to win the fight in the future.” He said there are numerous opportunities in Spectrum Forward to come and work through the National Spectrum Consortium, including in 5G, spectrum sharing, electronic warfare, ISR and new RF innovations.

“I really think we’re on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, in automation and smart technologies, and all of that is going to be driving wireless,” said D’Itri. He mentioned autonomous systems, IoT and smart logistics as technologies that will be powered by wireless spectrum, 5G and 6G technologies.

D’Itri said the Department of Defense hosts a collaboration event with NSC members and will then put out a request for RFPs, on which members will competitively bid. The Department will then make an award on that.

“We see opportunities here in the first quarter, the first half of the year for our members and the partners to capitalize on 5G and wireless RFPs,” D’Itri said.

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