Jan 31, 2017

FCC moves to expand internet access

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

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
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  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.