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New York City to Build Nation’s First City-Based Wireless Testbed

Armed with a $22.5 million grant, a consortium of stakeholders in New York City is working on the nation’s first city-based wireless testbed.

The hope is that this faster Internet connectivity will in turn create a localized proving ground for next generation innovation and technology applications. The resultant platform, which has been named COSMOS, will be based in Harlem, and its creation is being led by academic institutions in the New York area, the principals being Rutgers University, Columbia University and New York University.

“New York City will shape the future of wireless technologies and prioritize the needs for all New Yorkers to have choices in affordable, high-speed internet connections,” Chief Technology Officer Miguel Gamiño Jr. said in a press release. “COSMOS is an incredible opportunity for government, academia, and industry researchers to further the mission to make tech work for people, and for New York City to be a tech model for other cities.”

Other partners on this work include the City of New York, City College of New York and Silicon Harlem, with additional backing coming from dozens of industry partners. The city government, meanwhile, will guide the research agenda, representing public interest and working to ensure the progress being made serves the needs of its communities.

This funding comes from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and an industry consortium, both of which are working together to invest $100 million during the next seven years in a set of wireless networks that will enable researchers in the United States to test new ways to boost Internet speeds, according to the release announcing the work.

The hope, simply put, is that faster speeds can support new technology applications in a number of fields, including robotics, virtual reality and traffic safety, among others. New York City and Salt Lake City are the first to receive NSF’s Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) funds.

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