The FCC has re-scheduled its postponed forum on 5G open radio access networks (ORAN) to Sept. 14, headlined by FCC chairman Ajit Pai and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Those are the software-centric virtualized radio access networks that can help reduce the reliance on foreign 5G network components like the Huawei and ZTE tech the government is excluding and likely ripping and replacing from U.S. nets.
The forum had been planned for March at the FCC, but was postponed due to COVID-19.
The Sept. 14 event will be via video conference and streamed online and feature government and industry leaders to talk about how the nets can "offer an alternative to traditional cellular network architecture and could enable a diversity in suppliers, better network security, and lower costs."
“Open and virtualized radio access networks may help operators deploy more secure, cost-effective 5G networks,” said Pai in a statement. “As part of the FCC’s 5G FAST Plan, the agency has taken many actions to promote American leadership in next generation wireless services. To that end, we want the United States to lead the way in researching and developing innovative approaches to mobile network deployment."
Pai will both provide opening remarks (followed by Pompeo) and moderate the opening panel.
The forum will feature four panels: Introduction to Open, Interoperable, and Virtualized Networks (Pai's panel), followed by Benefits of Deployment/Driving Innovation, Lessons from the Field: Where Do We Go from Here? and Technical Deep Dive.
Among the panelists are Mariam Sorond from CableLabs, Cristiano Amon from Qualcomm and Stephen Bye from Dish.
"Open RAN networks enable providers to bring together best-in-class vendors, including from the U.S., unleashing innovation and unlocking the economic potential enabled by 5G," said Dish's Bye. "We are proud to be building the nation's first cloud native Open RAN based 5G network, and want to thank chairman Pai for organizing this forum to discuss a key component in the future of American connectivity.”
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