BAI Communications (BAI) has been awarded grant funding as part of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) Open RAN Research & Development (R&D) collaboration, to boost connectivity and reduce energy consumption through innovation.
The project will foster deeper collaboration between UK industry and the Republic of Korea, recognised leaders in wireless infrastructure, to enhance the sharing of knowledge and best practices to push forward Open RAN deployment. It is the first international project to be announced as part of The Open Networks R&D Fund – a £250 million government supported programme to deliver the UK’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy.
The consortium is being led by AWTG Ltd, together with BAI, Lime Microsystems, the University of Surrey and Virgin Media O2, working in partnership with a consortium in South Korea, led by SOLiD Labs.
Building on Flex-5G, an end-to-end Open RAN compliant 5G Stand-Alone network, the scheme will develop a next generation Digital Antenna System (DAS) using state of the art technologies including Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RIS) developed by the University of Surrey, and a new management platform, to develop more power efficient systems to achieve signal into harder to reach places.
BAI will provide insight and guidance as a trusted Neutral Host advisor, including practical deployment approaches and business use cases to drive the integration of the technology to enhance connectivity performance while boosting energy efficiency.
Andy Conway, Director of Solutions and Innovation at BAI Communications UK, said: “Innovation is at the heart of what we do. We have a long history of collaborating with key partners in the Republic of Korea, which is recognised as a leader in next generation communications technology. The grant-funded project will allow this consortium of leading experts to take collaboration to the next level in order to further develop global Open RAN capability, helping to accelerate sustainability efforts as well as digital connectivity.”
Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The technology powering our phone and internet networks is evolving rapidly and with 6G on the horizon we must stay ahead of the curve.
“This government investment will see top UK universities join forces with industry to develop the nuts and bolts underpinning new networks, create skilled jobs testing the security of the latest telecoms tech, and ensure our plan for a more diverse and innovative 5G market is sustained in the future.
“The funding will also turbocharge our work to strengthen telecoms supply chains so we are no longer reliant on a handful of companies to develop and maintain our 5G networks.”
Julia Lopez, Digital Infrastructure Minister, said:
“We are putting the UK at the forefront of 5G technology through a bold new partnership with the Republic of Korea.
“BAI and other innovative British firms are joining forces with their Korean counterparts to solve some of the challenges facing this cutting-edge connectivity so we can confidently deliver major benefits for our citizens and economies.”