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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

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

7 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

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