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Photo: Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump on Thursday told the Commerce Department to help determine the future use of radio frequencies that power the mobile economy.

The big picture: Mobile carriers are getting ready to roll out 5G mobile service to consumers, putting pressure on policymakers to free up airwaves, or spectrum, for the super-fast, low-delay technology.

Details:

  • A new presidential memorandum asks the Secretary of Commerce to develop a "National Spectrum Strategy" and to report back every year.
  • The secretary will look at "how to improve spectrum management and assess research and development priorities to create new technologies and improve United States competitiveness," per a White House fact sheet. The memo also asks federal agencies to lay out their demands for airwaves.

An administration official indicated the teams behind the memo were embracing a private sector-focused approach, as opposed to a nationalization strategy advocated by some in the administration earlier this year. That plan met wide skepticism.

The FCC, which oversees commercial spectrum use, is gearing up to auction off airwaves later this fall and wants to free up others for 5G use. The task force created by the White House memo will coordinate with the FCC.

What they're saying: "A spectrum strategy will help create a roadmap for industry to better guide their business decisions," said Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy Michael Kratsios in prepared remarks. "Additionally, it will provide clarity to federal agencies who rely on spectrum to carry out their mission."

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on our 5G future

Go deeper

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.

Mark Meadows sues Pelosi, Jan. 6 committee

Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Nov. 18, 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and all nine members of the Jan. 6 select committee on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move comes less than a day after the committee moved to hold Meadows in contempt for refusing to cooperate with its investigation of the Capitol riots.

2 hours ago - Technology

The four key moments from Instagram's Hill hearing

Adam Mosseri. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Instagram head Adam Mosseri testified before Senate lawmakers Wednesday and was pressed on the app's impacts on young children and teens.

Why it matters: Legislation to protect kids online is one area Congress has shown it's willing to regulate, as Axios previously reported. Wednesday's back-and-forth gave momentum to lawmakers eager to make more rules for social media platforms and how children and teens can use them.