FCC Chair Backs T-Mobile and Sprint Deal, Clearing Hurdle for Merger

T-Mobile's proposed $26.5 billion merger with Sprint just cleared its first legal hurdle, as Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai says he will recommend that the agency approve the deal. The FCC will most likely follow his lead, but the deal still needs approval from the Justice Department, where antitrust enforcement staffers have expressed concerns, Bloomberg reports. In an announcement, Pai said Monday that the two companies agreed to expand their rural coverage if the merger is approved, by building a 5G wireless network that will cover 97 percent of the US population within three years and 99 percent of the country within six years. Pai says the new network will cover 90 percent of rural residents within six years. …

5G Networks Could Throw Weather Forecasting Into Chaos

If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick? That’s the question facing federal officials as they decide whether to auction off more of the wireless spectrum or heed meteorologists who say that such a move could throw US weather forecasting into chaos. On Capitol Hill Thursday, NOAA’s acting chief, Neil Jacobs, said that interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of forecasts by 30 percent. That's equivalent, he said, to the quality of weather predictions four decades ago. “If you look back in time to see when our forecast scale was roughly 30 percent less than today, it was 1980,” Jacobs told the House Subcommittee …