Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Aiming to convince cities to move faster on 5G, Verizon is enlisting its consumers to do some work on its behalf.

What's new: The company launched a website on Monday where consumers and businesses can petition their local governments to support the deployment of new networking gear, known as small cells, needed to deliver the next generation of cellular technology,

The purpose is two-fold: Getting customers to engage with public officials in favor of 5G, and spotting groundswells of interest as an indicator of demand.

  • Translated: Verizon is leveraging its customers for local lobbying — although Verizon says it's fully transparent that it's behind the effort — while also mapping out its footprint.
  • "We want to build networks and services on those networks, and to do that we need constituents who want those services," a Verizon spokesperson tells Axios.

Why it matters: A major hurdle for telecom companies wanting to roll out 5G is getting each municipal government to approve all the permitting requests to install hundreds of thousands of small-cell antennas all over town.

Verizon is also taking a page out of the playbook used by tech companies when expanding to new areas.

  • For example, Google and Amazon asked cities to pitch them on bringing high-speed fiber internet service and HQ2, respectively, to their areas.
  • Yes, but: Google Fiber was selling the promise of fast fiber, which at the time (2011) was rare and enticing. Amazon HQ was selling jobs, jobs, jobs. Verizon, on the other hand, is selling a technology whose applications don't yet exist.

Our thought bubble: Motivating the masses to shout loudly that they want 5G faster could be tough. Despite the industry hype around 5G, many consumers still have no idea what it is or why they should care. For many, their current 4G LTE service allows them to stream movies and browse the web just fine.

Go deeper: Trump team considers nationalizing 5G network

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Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3 on Election Day until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Report: Goldman to settle DOJ probe into Malaysia's 1MDB for over $2B

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.