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AP

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai moved Thursday to roll back part of a key requirement from last year that Charter Communications expand its broadband network in order to merge with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

The setup: When the FCC approved Charter's $65 billion merger with the massive Time Warner Cable network last year, it said the company needed to build out its network to two million customer locations. A million of those had to be locations where there was already a high-speed broadband provider operating to create more competition.

The details: Multiple sources familiar with the move confirmed to Axios that a draft order eliminating those so-called "overbuild provisions" — forcing Charter to build in areas where a competitor already operates — had been circulated to the commissioners' offices by agency staff in response to petitions from two trade groups. An commission official said the rationale behind the order was to encourage Charter to build in unserved areas of the country, not places where customers can already access high-speed broadband.

Worth noting: An order can sit on circulation for a long time, so this doesn't necessarily mean that a vote on the matter is imminent. Spokespeople for the FCC and Charter declined to comment on the record.

Key context: Pai has long criticized the idea of putting conditions on a merger to reach broader policy goals, like encouraging competition in the broadband market. He even voted against the Charter merger's approval just to make that point.

Go deeper

12 mins ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

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