Earlier this year, NTIA issued a 5G Challenge Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD), requesting information on how to use Prize Challenges to accelerate the development of the open 5G ecosystem and support DoD missions.
NTIA received 51 responses to the NOI, and today NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is releasing an analysis of those responses to inform future collaborations between DoD and NTIA, including the potential of an initial 5G Challenge in 2022.
The purpose of 5G Challenges would be to support open interfaces, interoperability, and modularity – accelerating market forces that promote vendor diversity. Open and interoperable 5G networks will encourage new market participation, allowing innovative companies to develop plug-and-play 5G components and integrated systems. Organizations would be able to optimize their network’s operational efficiency by mixing and matching components from multiple vendors.
The 5G Challenge is one part of NTIA’s broader work on 5G and vendor diversity. Through our leadership of the 5G Vendor Diversity Working Group, NTIA is coordinating interagency efforts and helping to streamline and enhance U.S. government efforts to promote of open, interoperable networks. NTIA also manages the ongoing activities and reporting for the National Strategy to Secure 5G Implementation Plan, on behalf of the National Security Council and National Economic Council.
On the international front, NTIA is leading engagement related to 5G vendor diversity. This has included bilateral engagement with likeminded governments and multilateral engagement in fora such as the Quad, G7, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and others. In addition, NTIA coordinates participation of federal agencies in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the leading body for defining 5G mobile wireless specifications.
In Boulder, Colo., ITS is building out their 5G laboratory capability, known as the Communications Research and Innovation Network. Initial testing will focus on analysis of open RAN equipment capabilities, performance, and integration. Additionally, this lab will serve as the main resource for 5G R&D programs within NTIA and will expand its capability to the Table Mountain Advanced Communications Test Site to stand up a 5G over-the-air test range.