There's another Axios event coming up and it's in your city. Because it's in every city. Because it's online.
Axios is hosting a live virtual event on the future of fintech and consumer privacy. Join us Wednesday, April 15, at 12:30pm ET live for a conversation with founder of Humanity Forward and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and CEO of Credit Karma Kenneth Lin.
Situational awareness: Jamie Iannone has been named eBay's new CEO, joining the company from Walmart, where he was COO of the e-commerce division.
Today's Login is 1,538 words, a 6-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
With the coronavirus pandemic binding Americans to their home internet service, policymakers are moving to create more space for the WiFi networks those homes use, Axios' Margaret Harding McGill reports.
The big picture: WiFi use has already been exploding as consumers connect more devices to their home broadband networks, a trend that's only accelerated with the coronavirus. Yet it's been years since the spectrum dedicated to carrying that load has been expanded.
Driving the news: The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve a plan to augment WiFi capacity this month.
Why it matters: The broadband connections into Americans' homes appear to be holding up against the recent surge in residential traffic, but WiFi still poses a potential bottleneck.
By the numbers: Cable companies reported a 19% increase in peak downstream traffic and a 33% increase in peak upstream traffic since March 1, according to data compiled by cable trade group NCTA.
Yes, but: The changes the FCC has in store for WiFi won't be immediate. New routers, laptops and phones that can use the newly opened airwaves will have to be manufactured and rolled out to customers first.
What they're saying: "The biggest benefit consumers will see is ... faster speeds to the consumer device," NCTA vice president and associate general counsel Danielle Piñeres told Axios. "That's going to be huge for video streaming, for video conferencing."
Meanwhile: The FCC did make more airwaves available on an emergency basis last month for wireless broadband providers, largely in rural areas.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, tech companies are stepping into the void left by a reluctant or incapable federal government — enabling contact tracing, wrestling with testing, and ramping up the capacity of government operations like unemployment services, Axios' Scott Rosenberg reports.
Why it matters: In the U.S., these giant firms — teeming with creative and restless employees, cushioned by big financial reserves and spurred on by the urgency of the moment — have stopped waiting for the government to move and begun taking their own initiative.
Driving the news: On Friday, rivals Apple and Google announced a joint project to enable phone-based contact tracing using their phones' short-distance Bluetooth-based networking signals.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the Washington Post reported that Amazon is planning to build its own virus testing facility to screen its workers.
Also last week, as millions of newly unemployed workers flooded state websites, Google helped provide New York state with a new portal to manage the surge of benefits applications.
Flashback: Last month, a confusing announcement by President Trump about a new Google project for screening COVID-19 patients left the company scrambling to clarify what was actually in its product pipeline while not antagonizing the White House.
Our thought bubble: Public-private partnerships are common in times of crisis, and tech companies always love to show off their "how can we help?" reflexes when calamities arise.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Uber adjusted its paid sick leave policy on Friday to expand qualifying criteria while instituting caps on the amounts it pays out, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva reports.
Why it matters: Gig economy workers continue to have limited work protections and benefits even as they are putting themselves at risk to ferry food, groceries, and passengers.
The details: Uber's new policy now extends the two-week paid leave benefits to drivers with pre-existing conditions that heightened their risk of serious illness from COVID-19 (per the CDC).
The big picture: Each gig economy company has devised its own approach to providing some compensation to workers during the pandemic shutdown.
Between the lines: As the shutdown moves deeper into a second month, the companies are realizing they need to make this compensation sustainable in the longer run.
Google is seeking to raise $5 million to help families in the San Francisco Bay Area burdened by the coronavirus crisis, it announced Sunday night.
Why it matters: Google's home region remains one of the most expensive in the country and, for those not able to work from home, the COVID-19 outbreak is a financial ordeal as well as a health crisis.
Details: The company and CEO Sundar Pichai are contributing $1 million each to launch the effort. Google aims to raise another $3 million from employees and others through GiveDirectly. All told, up to 5,000 families would receive $1,000 each.
In other virus-related tech news:
More than 20 million people watched Andrea Bocelli do a free online Easter concert from an empty cathedral Sunday. If you weren't one of those, you can check it out on YouTube.