Telecom Infra Project starts charging for membership

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has begun charging many of its members for participation. TIP’s Executive Director Attilio Zani said the organization has supported itself, up to now, through grants, contributions and its events. But this week it instituted a three-tier structure for its members.

The lowest tier — for software engineers — is still free. These members can contribute code to public repositories.

But the middle tier — for associate participation — costs $2,500 per year. This is for members who want some access to TIP’s activities so they can understand what’s evolving in their professional ecosystem. These members are eligible to participate in TIP Community Lab activities.

And the third tier — for full participation — costs $10,000 per year and provides members with full access to all TIP’s activities including its field trials. These members are eligible to chair project groups.

While some American organizations, such as the Linux Foundation, charge substantially higher amounts for corporate memberships at the highest tier, Zani said TIP’s intent was to provide more funding for the organization but to set the bar low enough so as not to create any barrier to participation.

Dell, Telefónica on TIP’s board

In other TIP news, Dell Technologies CTO of Networking and Solutions Ihab Tarazi took a position on its board of directors. And Juan Carlos García, SVP of technology and ecosystem at Telefónica became Telefónica's representative on the TIP board. 
Dell Technologies has been an active member of TIP since it joined the organization in 2019.

Tarazi told Fierce: “In this new model of disaggregation, the data center architecture is what’s being used for the network. It’s not the traditional network anymore. All the open RAN software is either NFV or containerized software that needs Kubernetes management tools. The software nature of this is definitely IT based. Our experience in data center architecture puts us as a key player.”

Dell Technologies is most known for its expertise in servers and compute, which is its biggest business. But Yago Tenorio, chairman and president of TIP, called out Dell for its work with network transport. Tenorio said in a statement, “I want to welcome Ihab Tarazi of Dell Technologies to TIP’s board of directors. Dell has been an active member of TIP, particularly within our Open Optical & Packet Transport Project Group.”

Tarazi said, “Transport is something we also do. We’re bringing our compute, storage and network products to be able to go all the way from the cell site to the core.”

RELATED: Dell works with AT&T, Vodafone, Orange on network virtualization

Along with Tarazi, García and Tenorio, the TIP board includes Aaron Bernstein from Facebook, Caroline Chan from Intel, Abdurazak Mudesir from Deutsche Telekom and Howard Watson from BT.

Asked what the hottest activity is in TIP right now, Zani said the open RAN project was “the most asked about.”

RELATED: Vodafone names top radio companies in its open RAN RFI

“In the latter half of last year, we brought together a bunch of project groups under the open RAN project group,” he said. “We’re going to see a lot more there over the coming 12 months. It’s evident from members and participants”

He said TIP is also seeing increased interest in its processes, which it describes as: Ideate, define, build, test, release and deploy. “In the last year we went from point products like open RAN and DCSG to creation approaches and solution groups,” he said.