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US $1.5bn investment to boost Open RAN adoption

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The US federal government is planning to invest US$1.5 billion to help rural carriers replace Huawei equipment and boost Open RAN adoption.

The Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund will be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and will kick off with a public comment period which is set to run through until January 23.

After the US largely banned the use of Huawei’s devices and equipment over security concerns amid deepening tensions between the US and China.

The firm was added to the US Entity List in 2019 and this decision restricted its access to items produced domestically and abroad, making it difficult for the company to import and export key equipment needed for 5G infrastructure.

This decision was swiftly followed by similar ones from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada who all opted to ban Huawei infrastructure.

The effort will likely benefit Open RAN and commercial adoption of the technology is already underway through limited trials or brand-new networks.

Dish and Japan’s Rakuten are already using Open RAN and several companies have committed to the technology, including Vodafone in the UK.

As Open RAN adoption continues, four leading English-speaking economies have aligned their strategies for secure mobile infrastructure.