Oct 24, 2019

House bill would mandate public auction of 5G airwaves

5G cellphone tower in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of House lawmakers dropped a bill Thursday directing the FCC to hold a public auction of coveted midband airwaves.

The big picture: The FCC is contemplating allowing a group of satellite companies to privately sell the airwaves to wireless companies for 5G service, amid opposition from cable companies and a now-bipartisan set of lawmakers.

Why it matters: The plan for the auction will affect how quickly 5G will be deployed and how much — if any — of the proceeds go to the government.

Details: The Clearing Broad Airwaves for New Deployment (C-BAND) Act is led by House Energy & Commerce communications subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle, Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui and Republican Reps. Bill Johnson and Greg Gianforte.

  • It would require the FCC to conduct a public auction and protect current users of the spectrum throughout the process, with auction proceeds going to the government.
  • The auction would have to make available between 200 and 300 megahertz of spectrum by 2022.

What’s next: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who intends to decide by this fall how to proceed, has said his priorities are speed, generating revenue for the government, making a significant amount of spectrum available for 5G, and ensuring that current users are protected.

  • The House Energy & Commerce communications subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday to discuss C-band issues.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.