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

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump whisked out of press briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday evening after law enforcement reportedly shot an armed suspect outside of the White House.

What's new: The 51-year-old suspect approached a uniformed Secret Service officer on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, near the White House, and said he had a weapon, the agency alleged in a statement late Monday. He "ran aggressively towards the officer, and in a drawing motion, withdrew the object from his clothing."

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Protests in Belarus turn deadly following sham election

Belarus law enforcement officers guard a street during a protest on Monday night. Police in Minsk have fired rubber bullets for a second night against protesters. Photo: Natalia Fedosenko/TASS via Getty Image

Protesters and security forces have been clashing across Belarus overnight in a second night of protests that has left at least one person dead, hundreds injured and thousands arrested.

Why it matters: Sunday’s rigged presidential elections have yielded political uncertainty unlike any seen in Aleksander Lukashenko’s 26-year tenure. After claiming an implausible 80% of the vote, Lukashenko is using every tool in the authoritarian arsenal to maintain his grip on power.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 20,014,574 — Total deaths: 734,755 — Total recoveries — 12,222,744Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 5,089,416 — Total deaths: 163,425 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."