FCC Taps NYC, Salt Lake City as First ‘Innovation Zones’

The program allows licensed users to test advanced systems — including faster 5G capabilities — across much larger areas.

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The Federal Communications Commission this week announced New York and Salt Lake City as the first locations for city-scale testing of next-generation communications technologies.

The agency said the debut “Innovation Zones” would authorize those already licensed under the FCC’s experimental radio program — including participants outside those cities — to conduct multiple, unrelated tests of wireless systems and networks across much larger geographic areas.

“These projects will test new advanced technologies and prototype networks like those that can support 5G technologies,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.

The New York project, named COSMOS, is operated by Rutgers University, Columbia University and New York University. POWDER, featuring several connected corridors in Salt Lake City, is run by the University of Utah and Houston’s Rice University. Both cities are partners in the projects.

The Platform for Advanced Wireless Research Project Office, formed by Northeastern University and US Ignite, a research organization to develop smart city technology, manages the Innovation Zone program.

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