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Open Radio Access Network Tech is a Pandemic Necessity, Says Open RAN Policy Coalition

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Rep. Greg Walden in 2018 by the Internet Education Foundation used with permission

August 4, 2020 — Open Radio Access Network technologies have a bright future and a diverse range of applications, said participants in an Open RAN Policy Coalition webinar Tuesday.

The webinar, titled “Open RAN 101: Promoting a Diverse and Competitive Market for 5G and Advanced Wireless Technologies,” saw participants discuss the broad variety of Open RAN applications.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said that the technology will generally improve U.S. infrastructure.

“By investing in open, standards-based trusted equipment, the U.S. will be in a strong position to ensure that our networks are both secure and easily upgradeable,” he said.

Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif, noted that the technology has allowed for innovative approaches to telelearning during the coronavirus.

“It has given us a chance to reassess the way we approach complex, public policy from broadband access and distance learning to health care and testing,” she said.

Matsui also expressed a commitment to the furtherment of such technology.

“Over the last few months, I've worked hard to advance policy to support the development and deployment of Open RAN technologies,” she said. “In April, I joined Chairman [Frank Pallone, D-N.J.,] and Representative and Ranking Member Walden to introduce the Utilizing Strategic Value Telecommunications Act… I will continue to push for inclusion [of open standards].”

John Baker, senior vice president of business development at Mavenir, said that interoperability was a crucial factor in the rollout of Open RAN technologies across the country.

“The speed of which the market is going to develop is very much dependent in interoperability,” he said. “…Because that really is going to dictate the speed at which the market rolls out. So, you’ll see commercial deployments this year, and it's continuing to grow, but on a global basis.”

The rapidly increasing numbers of children learning remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic have made effective telelearning practices a necessity, both in America and globally.

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