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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.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
44 mins ago - Technology

Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.