The Defense Department and Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Monday began soliciting comments from stakeholders for a new challenge effort aimed at accelerating the development of an open 5G ecosystem that can support DoD missions.

The 5G Challenge is looking to leverage the software development and telecommunications technology communities to enable more open 5G systems, including end-user equipment, the radio access network, and the core network, with a focus on the 5G protocol stack software, the DoD said.

“The Department of Defense recognizes that 5G technologies are foundational to strengthening our nation’s warfighting capabilities as well as U.S. economic competitiveness,” Michael Kratsios, acting under secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, said in a statement. “Open 5G systems would greatly bolster the department’s ability to deliver on its missions, and we look forward to exploring new and innovative opportunities for their development.”

A Notice of Inquiry published in the Federal Register by the NTIA organizes the framework for responses into three categories including how the 5G Challenge should be structured and what its goals should be, what are the incentives for having an open ecosystem and what should the scope of the challenge be, and finally, what should the timeframe be for the challenge and what software and hardware infrastructure are needed to successfully execute the challenge.

The development and establishment of 5G networks are one of the DoD’s top modernization priorities. The advanced networks are expected to enable new technologies breakthroughs given their enormous bandwidth and extremely low latency.

The collaborative effort between the DoD and NTIA follows the Trump administration’s publishing of a 5G strategy in 2020 that continues U.S. government efforts to work with stakeholders in the private sector, academia, and international governments on policies, standards and procurement strategies that promote a diverse vendor base to bolster competition.

The NTIA advises the president on telecommunications and information policy. Comments are due by Feb. 10. Contact: [email protected].