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Starry "beam" used to transmit fixed wireless broadband service to buildings. Photo: Starry

Upstart internet provider Starry is trying to help small- and medium-sized cities accelerate investment in high-speed internet.

Why it matters: When it comes to fast, reliable broadband, installing fiber in the ground is the gold standard.

  • But fiber is too expensive for a lot of towns. Starry and others are offering "fixed wireless" service as an alternative that is cheaper and faster to deploy. It's also a potential competitor to incumbent broadband providers.

Driving the news: A the National League of Cities' City Summit this week, Starry is releasing a "toolkit" designed to be a guide for cities looking to partner with competitive broadband providers to expand access.

How it works: Fixed wireless bases beam internet signals to receivers located in homes and offices, where the majority of traffic is consumed. It's typically used in rural areas where robust fiber networks are not practical.

  • Windstream, like Starry, is using millimeter wave spectrum recently auctioned by the FCC to provide fixed wireless in mid-sized markets.
  • Wireless internet service providers (or WISPS) often use the technology to connect smaller communities.
  • Verizon is using its own fixed wireless approach to roll out 5G in some areas.
  • Starry operates in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., and now has spectrum licenses to cover cities in more than 20 states.

A lot of mid-sized cities have hoped that a provider will fund the build-out of broadband throughout a market.

  • "But the moment it doesn't work from a balance sheet perspective, it falls apart," said Starry CEO Chet Kanojia. "What we've done is figured out the pieces of the pie to invest and make the model work."
  • Fixed wireless may not be whole solution, but it can fill last-mile gaps or unserved areas in coordination with other providers and technologies, Kanojia said.

The bottom line: Expanding broadband with wireless technology is only one piece of the puzzle, as all wireless networks including 5G need to connect to fiber infrastructure.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”