Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

ALA / Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday, the first-of-its kind spectrum incentive auction attracted enough bids to succeed. This auction will free 84 MHz of broadcast TV airwaves for wireless broadband. To put that number in context, every 10 MHz of spectrum made available for wireless services adds an estimated $3 billion in GDP and 200,000 jobs.

When the auction was conceived in 2002 — five years before the iPhone — the supply of airwaves was already insufficient to keep up with growing consumer demand. Thanks to the government's work, the spectrum crunch no longer presents the same threat to our mobile economy.

The FCC must continue to unleash more airwaves for broadband and 5G networks, but it must also grapple with other emerging threats to the wireless economy. In my view, these are the biggest issues:

  1. Cybersecurity: The Internet of Things is projected to create $8 trillion in value over the next decade, but only if it's secure. The cyberattack that shut down major web sites in October was coordinated through a large number of IOT devices. The FCC should work with industry and federal partners to combat the cyber threat.
  2. Infrastructure: Wireless networks rely on a little more than 200,000 cell towers in the U.S. But the 5G wireless future may need millions of small cell sites. The current process for setting up towers is long and expensive. To ensure communities have the benefits of 5G, the FCC needs to cut red tape where it can to allow the plethora of antennas that will be needed quickly and at a reasonable cost.
  3. Competition: This remains the most effective tool for maximizing consumer benefits. On two separate occasions, the FCC has discouraged deals that would have shrunk the number of national carriers from four to three, and consumers have been the beneficiaries. Speculation about consolidation in the wireless industry has ramped up again. Skepticism of any future deals remains warranted.

These issues will have to be addressed to help fulfill the promise of mobile innovation to grow our economy and improve American's lives.

(Tom Wheeler has been chairman of the FCC since 2013. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Go deeper

Mayors press Biden to adopt progressive immigration agenda

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A coalition of nearly 200 mayors and county executives is challenging Joe Biden and the incoming Congress to adopt a progressive immigration agenda that would give everyone a pathway to citizenship.

Why it matters: The group's goals, set out in a white paper released today, seem to fall slightly to the left of what the president-elect plans to propose on Inauguration Day — though not far — and come at a time of intense national polarization over immigration.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
18 mins ago - Health

Demand for coronavirus vaccines is outstripping supply

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Now that nearly half of the U.S. population could be eligible for coronavirus vaccines, America is facing the problem experts thought we’d have all along: demand for the vaccine is outstripping supply.

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s call for states to open up vaccine access to all Americans 65 and older and adults with pre-existing conditions may have helped massage out some bottlenecks in the distribution process, but it’s also led to a different kind of chaos.

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.