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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

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.