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Renewing U.S. Telecommunications Research
support researchers from academia and industry and provide industry with a way to pool funds, spread risk, and share beneficial results.
ATRA’s mission would be to (1) identify, coordinate, and fund U.S. telecommunications R&D; (2) foster major architectural advances; and (3) strengthen the U.S. telecommunications research capability. Key suggested steps for implementing ATRA are (1) establishment of mechanisms for carrying out project-based research; (2) establishment of advisory committees with high-level industry participation; (3) exploration of the need for R&D centers; and (4) establishment of a forum for key parties to discuss critical technology development issues.
Effective expansion of federal support of telecommunications research through ATRA will require participation from both service providers and equipment vendors to help identify the most critical research needs together with complementary industry investments in research. ATRA can play an important role in facilitating mechanisms to enable service providers to pool research support.
Even with ATRA, NSF and DARPA will remain important contributors to U.S. telecommunications research efforts. The committee recommends that NSF and DARPA assess their investments in basic telecommunications research and consider increasing both their emphasis on and their level of investment in such research. Both should establish criteria for determining the appropriate level of telecommunications research funding. NSF should continue to strengthen its support for telecommunications research and should consider programs for attracting and developing young research talent. To stay at the forefront, DARPA should continue support of telecommunications research for military applications, even if there is the chance of commercial development of those technologies. In formulating its research programs, DARPA should also consider the telecommunications capabilities of potential adversaries and the risk of dependence on foreign suppliers for key technologies.