Bi-partisan Effort Underway for Funding RAN Networks


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More than 35 House lawmakers are pushing chamber leadership to fund the development and deployment of wireless 5G radio access networks (RANs) as part of upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. That’s according to Spectrum Caucus heads Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), along with Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA).

RANs are virtual alternatives to physical 5G equipment. The technology could make the U.S. more competitive against Chinese telecom giant Huawei, these lawmakers say.

House Energy and Commerce staffers previously hinted at the next coronavirus bill that would allocate $1 billion for RAN research and development, notes Politico. The letter marks the biggest and most explicit ask to secure money along these lines. The White House and FCC discussed the merits of the technology earlier this year.

This month, an industry coalition was formed to promote it, with members ranging from AT&T to Facebook, reported Inside Towers. The Open RAN Coalition is speaking to at least one FCC Commissioner about its goals. “I salute its commitment to no mandates & vendor neutrality!” tweeted FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly after speaking with coalition leaders. 

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