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AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

A federal appeals court has ruled against the FCC's proposed caps on intrastate rates on inmate phone calls, arguing that the federal agency overstepped its bounds.

This is a market dominated by private equity-backed companies, which have argued that the often-outrageous fees they charge ($8.20 for the first minute, in one case) are caused by the commissions they are required to pay many local and state governments to get the contracts in the first place (even though the companies partnered with those same government entities on their lawsuit).

What to know: In the exceptional cases where local or state governments have either capped intrastate rates or banned contract commissions, private companies have still bid on new prison phone contracts.

Rising values: One of the market's two largest players is Securus Technologies, which current owner ABRY Partners purchased for $640 million four years ago. The company complains about how intrastate caps would damage its bottom line but, while the case remained active, ABRY tentatively agreed to sell Securus for $1.5 billion (including debt) to another private equity firm.

Bottom line: Profits for private equity, price-gouging for the kid who wants 15 minutes on the phone with her incarcerated parent.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
5 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”