DISH Pleased Defense Authorization Bill Supports 5G and O-RAN

DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH) supports provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24 NDAA) that it says will promote wireless innovation.

House and Senate negotiators released the compromise version of the NDAA last week. The House passed the annual Defense authorization bill Thursday, sending the $886 billion Pentagon policy and funding package to President Biden for his signature, according to The Hill.  

The new FY24 NDAA language will require the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a strategy for deploying private wireless networks based on O-RAN architecture to military installations, reports Vanillaplus. The FY24 NDAA will also authorize a little over $179 million for research, development, test and evaluation for “Next Generation Information Communications Technology (5G),” which will help support wireless work across DoD. 

“This is a positive development for our national security and the future of wireless technology,” said DISH EVP External and Legislative Affairs Jeff Blum. “We look forward to working with the Department of Defense to help implement these provisions and bring the security and interoperability of O-RAN networks to our military service members across the globe.”

DISH has been working with DoD to establish a 5G private wireless O-RAN network at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island in Washington State. In collaboration with EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems, the network incorporates DISH’s spectrum holdings with Hughes’ satellite internet connection and network security management capabilities. 

The companies say the result is a fast, secure and reliable 5G private network and edge cloud. The deployment supports flight line operations and aircraft maintenance, all designed to improve operational efficiency, performance and safety on base, according to DISH. 

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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