US testing vendor Viavi Solutions secured a $21.7 million grant from the NTIA as part of an effort by the agency to spur open RAN testing.

Viavi Solution’s three-year grant is for a hybrid physical laboratory infrastructure and cloud-based testing lab-as-a-service, Viavi automated lab-as-a-service for open RAN (VALOR.)

The vendor stated VALOR “is designed to manage and support 5G and open RAN projects that would benefit from access to tools and expert staff with a minimal ramp-up time”.

It will provide its engineers with automated test processes, access to testing capabilities and expertise, standard and customised tools and libraries, and assistance with demonstrations to the project.

Grants for the third-round of NTIA’s Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund totalled nearly $80 million, its biggest to date.

EchoStar subsidiary Dish Wireless secured the largest sum and Viavi Solutions the second greatest.

Virginia Tech, Cirrus360, Northeastern University and Rice University were each granted around $2 million to test various elements of open RAN.

The NTIA was allotted $1.5 billion under the CHIPS and Science Act in 2022 with the primary goal of accelerating commercial deployments of open RAN.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo stated the fund would contribute to creating “new wireless networks, ultimately leading to more jobs and lower costs for Americans”.

Assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson noted the fund and grants were created “to help move open technologies from the lab to the field”.

The third-round targets production of new testing and evaluation facilities, along with additional research and development efforts.

To date, the NTIA has awarded more than $98 million from the fund.