Dec 19, 2017

Net neutrality fight heads back to Congress

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn leads a key tech subcommittee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced legislation Tuesday that bans internet providers from blocking or slowing down the delivery of content. It also looks to block states from making their own net neutrality rules.

But, but, but: It does not stop providers from establishing fast lanes that would give priority to some types web traffic or content over others.

The other side: The Internet Association, which represents Google, Facebook and other tech companies, said that the "proposal circulated today does not meet the criteria for basic net neutrality protections – including bright-line rules and a ban on paid prioritization – and will not provide consumers the protections they need to have guaranteed access to the entire internet."

  • Public Knowledge, a public interest group, said in a statement that the bill would also "remove almost all other FCC consumer protection authority over broadband networks."

The bigger picture: This bill isn't likely going to attract much support from Democrats, who are starting to warm to the idea of trying to undo the FCC's net neutrality repeal. That effort, however, would need Republican support. Other bills on the issue are said to be in the works.

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The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.

Why space is good politics for Trump

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's exuberance around today's scheduled SpaceX launch — including his decision to travel to Florida to watch — goes beyond a personal fascination with astronauts, rockets, and how to make money and wield power in the next frontier.

The bottom line: There's a presidential election in November, and the U.S. space program enjoys wide support across party lines. It's good politics for Trump, at least for now.