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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr laid out his strategy for speeding up U.S. deployment of 5G networks during a speech in Brussels on Wednesday.

Why it matters: After the telecom industry and the FCC widely panned a National Security Council proposal to create a government-run 5G network, conversation has pivoted to how to ensure the U.S. leading the international race to 5G and warding off threats from countries like China.

The steps Carr said the FCC needs to take:

  1. Simplify and accelerate the review process for installing 5G equipment on light poles, street lights and rights-of-way.
  2. Free up more airwaves from different "spectrum bands" that operators can cobble together to create more 5G capacity.
  3. Reduce regulation (like net neutrality rules) that, he says, reduces private investment in network deployment.

Between the lines: These steps are priorities for the telecom providers, like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, that are investing billions in rolling out 5G technologies. But state and city governments are worried about losing a say over where hundreds of thousands of new cell sites will be installed on their streets. And net neutrality proponents dispute the claim that net neutrality reduced private sector investment in broadband networks generally.

Follow the money: "In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that deploying 5G might require the private sector to invest $275 billion over the next few years," Carr said in his remarks. "Capital is finite, and capital is smart. It will flow to those countries that have updated and modernized their regulatory structures."

Go deeper: How 5G works

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
37 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

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