Verizon, AT&T and a consortium of operators, vendors and developers were awarded a $42 million grant as part of a US government plan to drive the testing and evaluation of open RAN infrastructure.

The US operators will lead the Acceleration of Compatibility and Commercialisation for Open RAN Deployments (ACCoRD) project, which will employ R&D centres in Texas and Washington DC to provide industry-standard testing for the architecture and foster more collaboration across various industries.

NTT Docomo and Reliance Jio are listed as unfunded founding members of the consortium.

The grant was the final award in an initial round of backing for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund, bringing the total awarded so far to $140 million.

Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo stated the grants “are supporting facilities and advancing research that will unlock new opportunities for America to lead in the global telecommunications market, strengthen our supply chains and drive down costs”.

Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung are among a host of vendors participating in ACCoRD, along with educational institutions the University of Texas at Dallas, Virginia Tech, Northeastern University, Iowa State University, Rutgers University and Idaho National Labs.

EchoStar subsidiary Dish Wireless secured $50 million from the NTIA to establish a centre to test the interoperability, performance and security of offerings from various vendors.