Hello all. I'm headed to D.C. this week for our semi-annual gathering of Axios folks.
Meanwhile, congrats to both the inspiring U.S. National Team as well as to Axios reader Eric Judka who made the right picks to win our Women's World Cup bracket.
Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,351 words, ~5 minute read
Former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
There is a lot of misinformation out there about 5G. In a new report to be published later this week, former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler knocks down some popular misconceptions around the next generation of wireless network service.
Why it matters: The advent of 5G has been sold to the public as a global race, but that framing oversimplifies the issue and opens the door to nationalist pandering and special-interest promotions.
The big picture: As we have been noting for a while, the so-called race to 5G is actually many competitions in one:
"The 5G discussion, with all its permutations and combinations, has grown to resemble an elementary school soccer game where everyone chases the ball, first in one direction, then another," Wheeler writes in the report, first seen by Axios.
Some of Wheeler's myth-busting arguments:
Between the lines: Spectrum is a key, though rarely mentioned, differentiator among the international competitors.
The bottom line: 5G is important, but it will be a marathon, not a dash, and everyone — consumers, regulators and the industry — would do well to heed its complexities without succumbing to politicization and marketing hype.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai testifies before a Senate subcommittee in 2018. Photo: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Speaking of 5G, current FCC chairman Ajit Pai was in Argentina Sunday talking up the U.S. plan. In a speech, Pai said the government is looking to free up more of that aforementioned midband spectrum.
"That means studying the spectrum chart closely and asking whether spectrum allocations from long ago still make sense as we enter the 5G era," Pai said.
Beyond the spectrum issues, Pai also sounded off on other areas, including the need to minimize local red tape for the construction of small cells and the need for more fiber to carry data from cell towers to central equipment.
Why it matters: The millimeter wave spectrum that has been the focus of most carriers' early 5G efforts has the possibility of ultra-high speeds, but the signals carry only short distances, making it cost effective only for dense urban areas. Midband frequencies hold out the prospect of fast speeds and broader coverage.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is taking aim at Snapchat, Axios' David McCabe reports. The senator is pushing Snap to "take action to prevent more children from being exposed to sexual predators and explicit adult content while using Snapchat" in a letter seen by Axios and due to be sent to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel today.
Why it matters: Blackburn's complaint suggests that message services that offer users more privacy and make messages more fleeting — as Snap does now, and Facebook is promising — will not be immune to policymakers' scrutiny and regulatory efforts.
The big picture: Children's online privacy is one area of tech policy that members of both parties frequently agree on.
As noted by TechCrunch, the internet seems to be having a rough few weeks: A Google Cloud outage on June 2 was followed later in June by an outage at Cloudflare. The first week of July capped off with a Facebook outage, a second Cloudflare outage and July 4 issues with Apple's iCloud.
Why it matters: Today's internet service is far more reliable and robust than in the early days of commercial internet service, but there are still all kinds of things that can bring major services down.
The bottom line: We've become increasingly reliant on the internet, but its reliability still has limits.