BAI Communications Australia (BAI) has been selected to lead one of four working groups scoping active sharing partnership models in phase one of the Stage 1 Mobile Coverage Program’s (MCP) Active Sharing Partnership led by the Department of Regional NSW (DRNSW).
Phase one of the partnership brings together infrastructure providers and mobile network operators (MNOs) to collaboratively develop commercial and delivery models for four active sharing options: Open Radio Access Network (ORAN), roaming, Multi-Operator Radio Access Network (MORAN) and Multi-Operator Core Network (MOCN).
Results from phase one of the partnership will inform the design and delivery of the MCP’s $300 million investment that is focused on improving mobile coverage in regional NSW.
BAI is leading the program's ORAN stream, working closely with Optus and NEC.
ORAN is the latest innovation in 4G and 5G base station technology, with it using open standards and clearly defining interoperability requirements for various components of the Radio Access Network to support sharing (for both MORAN and MOCN) and integrating infrastructure and equipment.
The use of ORAN delivers a flexible software-based solution, avoids vendor lock-in and leverages the ongoing improvements in server hardware performance.
These factors are expected to provide implementation and operational cost benefits in the delivery of mobile networks over the next decade.
"We have a demonstrable track record of successfully partnering with government and multiple stakeholders to deliver neutral host solutions using infrastructure and emerging technologies,” BAI CEO Peter Lambourne said.
“BAI also understands the complexities of hard-to-service areas – we are already relied on to keep broadcast services on-air across rural, regional and remote communities and during emergencies as the operator of the NSW government's Public Safety Network."
The ORAN working group is currently designing a pilot program that can be deployed to several blackspot sites across regional NSW.
Preliminary commercial and delivery models were presented to DRNSW in June, with technical solutions and refined commercial and deployment models to be presented in August.
Following the NSW governments’ evaluation, groups with viable solutions aligned to the project's objectives may be invited to submit detailed proposals for funding to implement their active sharing solution or solutions later this year.