New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai used his first public meeting to announce a new advisory committee on broadband deployment. Here's what it will do:

  • Develop a stock set of broadband policies that cities can use ease the process for zoning and permitting to boost deployment of new networks.
  • Make broad recommendations on how to expand broadband access, including how to change and eliminate regulations

Who will be on it: "Representatives of consumers and community groups, the communications industry, and federal, state, local, and Tribal officials are encouraged to apply," the FCC said in a statement.

The bigger picture: Even though this move simply forms a committee, it's the latest indication that Pai is making expanding internet access a core part of his agenda. He met last week with groups active on the issue and voted to provide funding for broadband expansion in rural parts of New York. Broadband will probably be part of a debate over infrastructure spending this year.

Open question: What will happen to Lifeline? Pai was critical of a recent expansion of the program to subsidize phone and internet service for low-income people, saying it's fraught with waste, fraud and abuse. He said at a Tuesday press conference that the commission is reviewing the issue but hasn't made any decisions yet.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.