Government delivers £36m O-RAN funding

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced the 14 projects which will receive funding from the Future RAN Competition (FRANC).

The funding forms part of the government’s 5G Diversification Strategy which aims to “reduce over-reliance on a small number of telecoms vendors” and has seen DCMS support a UK-wide range of R&D projects focused on Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) technology.

Technology solutions being developed by telecoms giants BT, Microsoft, Virgin Media 02, Vodafone alongside start-up technologies from AccelerComm, Dense Air and AceAxis have all received funding to support emerging 5G RAN infrastructure products.

One of the broadest collaborations, the 5G DU-Volution project will “address the key aims of the FRANC programme by promoting the integration of RAN suppliers’ products at all levels of the architecture” into one of the most challenging RAN components, the distribution unit (DU). Partners AccelerComm, ADVA and CommAgility will work together to develop a new O-RAN-enabled DU that will be tested at BT’s Adastral Park facility and distributed by the University of York and the Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC).

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