Mar 24, 2020 - Technology

House Democrats' virus bill would fund student WiFi hotspots

House Democrats' coronavirus response plan unveiled Monday would direct funding to pay for WiFi hotspots for students and bar broadband providers from imposing data caps during the crisis.

The big picture: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the legislation after Republicans and Democrats in the Senate failed to move their own stimulus measure forward.

Details: The House's $2.5 trillion "Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act" includes several provisions related to tech and telecom issues for the duration of the national emergency, including:

  • $2 billion for schools to pay for WiFi hotspots and connected devices including laptops or tablets for students in need.
  • $1 billion for an "emergency lifeline benefit" to aid low-income households in obtaining broadband service.
  • Codifying and expanding the Federal Communications Commission's "Keep Americans Connected Pledge," in which broadband providers promised not to terminate internet service because of inability to pay. The bill also would prohibit setting limits on the amount of data customers can use, outside of network management practices.
  • Empowering the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to impose civil penalties in price-gouging cases related to the coronavirus pandemic.

A draft summary of the bill Senate Republicans are backing includes allocations of:

  • $200 million for an FCC telehealth program.
  • $25 million dedicated to rural distance learning, telemedicine, and broadband programs.

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.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

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.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  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.