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Axios' Erica Pandey, (left) with Jessica Rosenworcel (right), Federal Communications Commissioner. Photo: Axios.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a Federal Communications Commissioner, said Tuesday that she hopes smart cities and 5G could eventually predict and ensure the safety of its residents, even from natural disasters like wildfires.

What she's saying: "Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we knew those kind of things well in advance, if we had a predictive ability that exceeds what we have today because we are looking at patterns at a scale that previously we haven’t been able to do? I think that those things are real and they are not so in the far-off future," she told Axios' Erica Pandey at a virtual event.

Why it matters: Much of the FCC's work involves overseeing the country's use of broadband, 5G development, satellite, cable and other technologies in both the public and private sectors.

  • 5G is the next generation of broadband, Rosenworcel said, that boost cities' internet speed and incorporate technology into infrastructure.

The state of play: Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats on the five-member commission, cited several instances that smart-city technology could help solve problems for Americans' every day lives:

  • Health: Sensors installed to monitor environmental qualities could collect data on long-term air quality, the prevalence of asthma and frequently traveled routes.
  • Commute: "If we can find ways to make sure our traffic lights talk to one another and then talk to our cars and talk to our vehicles, and reduce our commute times, I think we really will improve quality of life for a lot of people who go to work every day," she said.
  • Agriculture: Technology could also help farmers understand how to best use chemicals, fertilizer and water without waste and damage to the environment for better yields, she said.

Watch the event, Axios' Smart Main Street, on Axios.com.

Go deeper

A financial lifeline for 5G spectrum

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A company that might be at the center of 5G's future is being thrown a lifeline.

Driving the news: Ligado Networks is raising $3.85 billion in expensive new financing to stay out of bankruptcy. The spectrum company's survival could be crucial to the long sought-after, and sometimes controversial, dream of deploying a nationwide 5G network.

2 hours ago - Health

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.