Apr 28, 2017

FCC's Silicon Valley pitch on net neutrality rules


A senior FCC official told reporters Thursday that the agency's leadership believes reversing the Obama-era decision to treat broadband like a utility "would be very, very good for the internet economy and Silicon Valley." Translation: The official is arguing that companies like Google and Netflix were able to thrive and grow into corporate giants in a world before broadband was regulated utility-style by the FCC in 2015, which current Republican Chairman Ajit Pai wants to reverse.

Quick take: While that may be true, it hasn't stopped Silicon Valley startups from resisting a rollback of the rules. The Internet Association, whose members include Google, Facebook and Netflix, has said it isn't wedded to a particular approach but that it supports the current rules.

Optional reading: You can peruse the FCC's whole proposal here. The upshot: It raises the prospect of eliminating some of the rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritization, opening the door to fast lanes on the internet.

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Texas oil regulators poised to debate historic production controls

Workers extracting oil from oil wells in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas. Photo: Benjamin Lowy/Getty Images

Texas oil regulators are likely to hold a hearing in April on whether to take the historic step to curb the state’s oil production amid a global market collapse fueled by the coronavirus.

Driving the news: Ryan Sitton, one of three commissioners of the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees state oil production, told Axios that a hearing will likely be held soon in response to a renewed request earlier Monday from two oil companies to limit production as one way to stem the steep slide in global oil prices.

America under lockdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If you thought March felt like the longest month in American history, just wait for April and May, when people will be forced to witness spring from the indoors.

The big picture: 28 states are in or entering lockdown, with Maryland and Virginia joining those ranks today. So is D.C., as its mayor made official this afternoon. Those states include roughly 3/4 of the American people, the N.Y. Times notes.

Ford, GE aim to make 50,000 ventilators in 100 days

A Model A-E ventilator, left, and a simple test lung. The ventilator uses a design that operates on air pressure without the need for electricity, addressing the needs of most COVID-19 patients. Photo: Ford

Ford and GE Healthcare announced plans on Monday to build a simplified ventilator design licensed from a Florida medical technology company, with the goal of producing 50,000 machines by early July, and up to 30,000 a month thereafter, to fight the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The companies are moving in "Trump time" to meet demand for urgently needed ventilators, says White House Defense Production Act Coordinator Peter Navarro. But with deaths expected to peak in two weeks, the machines won't arrive in large numbers in time to help the hardest-hit cities.

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