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On Friday, July 16, Axios chief technology correspondent Ina Fried and national technology correspondent Kim Hart unpacked efforts to close the digital divide and the future of 5G technologies, featuring FCC acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel, The Manufacturing Institute executive director Carolyn Lee and Qualcomm Incorporated president & CEO Cristiano Amon.

Jessica Rosenworcel covered what the future looks like for 5G implementation as well as its unique challenges and benefits.

  • On the kinds of applications 5G will make possible as opposed to 4G: “If we do this right, it won't all be centered on our phones...The most interesting things will be precision agriculture, manufacturing, and health care, where we're able to monitor and identify what we need at any given moment with greater clarity and speed than we've ever seen before. I think there's a whole bunch of innovation and technologies that are going to develop with that connectivity.”
  • On ensuring the next 5G deployment phase is as efficient and secure as possible: “We recognize that we've only got a handful of equipment providers across the world. And we asked ourselves, what can we do to diversify those who supply equipment? Because some of the biggest ones are from China and we have concerns about surveillance associated with that equipment and whether or not it's really, truly secure for networks that are going to touch so many facets of our economy.”

Cristiano Amon discussed why 5G will be critical in the coming years and what tangible changes the average tech user will experience with its implementation.

  • On connectivity and getting reliably integrated with the cloud: “5G is going to be how all of us are going to connect to the Internet. It is this transformative technology that at the end of the day will get everything connected to the cloud 100% of the time in a reliable manner. The way we think about 5G is almost like the role of electricity. When we talk about connecting to the Internet and connecting to the cloud today, we don't talk much about the use of electricity, we just assume it's there...That's the reason 5G is so important. It is going to be not only important for consumers, but for all other industries.”
  • On how critical building 5G infrastructure will be for governments and businesses alike: “The reality is it's critical infrastructure, no different than the power grid and railroads and ports and roads...If you just look at what happened in 4G, the United States built a nationwide 4G network and it was the first country to build it. There were a number of different companies and business models that came up with an innovation-based economy that was only possible because of the 4G network.”

Carolyn Lee unpacked how 5G technology will affect the manufacturing sector, and the importance of moving forward strategically.

  • On the process of implementing this technology and how it will serve businesses: “Efficiency, of course, is key to manufacturing competitiveness...The deployment of 5G will help us speed up inventory management, supply chain management, logistics, all of which we saw during this last year, as we combatted COVID that were critical and had a really big impact on the manufacturing sector and all of our customers. So the ability to use 5G to help speed up those processes, bring in new systems and support systems to help deploy that faster is going to really have a big impact.”
  • On the many opportunities 5G has the potential to create: “What these technologies are creating is actually new jobs, new skills, and new opportunities for human workers to bring their human skills to work. And so it is really exciting that we are able to promote this 5G technology on the ground. More widespread adoption will allow for more companies to be able to manage their workflow, help their employees, and overall be more efficient.”

Thank you Qualcomm for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 23, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on investing in advanced climate tech

On Thursday, September 23rd, Axios business editor Dan Primack and Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo explored how alternative energy investments toward climate solutions function in the private and public sector today, featuring Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Galvanize Climate Solutions co-founder Tom Steyer.

Sen. Ron Wyden explained his support for overhauling the existing tax code to incentivize companies to reduce their emissions, his belief that all Americans should pay their fair share of taxes, and Congressional efforts to increase electric vehicle usage.

  • On his support for modifying the tax code: “One of the little secrets about the tax code is that many billionaires pay little or no income taxes. The way they do that is they don’t take a wage, and so Americans have read all these stories about prominent billionaires paying virtually nothing in the way of income taxes for years and years on end. I don’t think that’s right.”
  • On the future trajectory of electric vehicles: “Getting a critical mass of these electric vehicles on the road is going to bring down costs. It’s going to be good for the environment, good for marketplace forces, and the American economy.”

Tom Steyer highlighted the importance of cleaning up electricity generation across the country, how the climate tech investment landscape has changed over the last decade, and what areas of climate tech he believes need more attention and investment.

  • On the future of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills: “I believe that the Democratic Party will come to a negotiated place which will include very important climate regulations, climate initiatives, and that specifically they will be encouraging the move to clean electricity generation across the United States during this decade.”
  • On the need for more tangible innovations in climate tech: “It’s going to be incredibly important for us too to do well in the businesses like manufacturing, where you can touch the product. We have dominated the kinds of businesses like software that you can’t touch.”

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with HSBC’s Group Chief Sustainability Officer Celine Herweijer, who discussed how sustainability is moving to the forefront of many corporations’ long-term goals.

  • “We’ve committed to essentially have a net zero target across all of our finance commissions portfolio. So to be able to do that, that means fundamentally changing how we finance it, fundamentally changing our risk appetite, changing our culture, our policies, our processes of capability.”

Thank you HSBC for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper: Get smarter, faster on the growing field of climate tech with our free short course.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker