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A cell tower in Missouri. Photo: Jeff Roberson / AP

Members of congressional leadership are urging the Federal Communications Commission not to let the timeline for handing over airwaves from local broadcasters to wireless providers slip in a letter obtained by Axios. They argue it would hurt rural areas where access to high speed internet is scarce.

The bigger picture: Cellular carriers — especially T-Mobile — want to get their hands on the spectrum they bought in a recent auction from local broadcasters as fast as possible. Broadcasters have pushed in the past to slow down the timeline.

The details:

  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who chairs the Republican conference in the House, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise are signed on to the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. It also includes Democrats like California Rep. Anna Eshoo, formerly the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's tech subcommittee.
  • They want the process of transitioning airwaves used by broadcasters to wireless carriers who bought them in a recent auction — known as the repack — to stay on schedule. The current deadline in July 3, 2020.
  • "By encouraging a rapid, reasonable, and cost-effective transition of the 600 MHz spectrum, the FCC can help ensure that citizens in rural America enjoy the benefits that reliable, high-speed internet connectivity promise," the lawmakers write in the letter, expected to be sent to Pai on Monday morning.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

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