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RCN buys Wave to expand its regional broadband empire

AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File

TPG Capital today said that it will pay nearly $2.4 billion to acquire Kirkland, Wash.-based Wave Broadband, which it will merge with RCN to form the country's sixth-largest cable company. Some notes after speaking with TPG partner David Trujillo:

Big but small: Trujillo says that taking on market leaders Comcast and Verizon isn't in the cards for RCN, but that growth will continue to come for players of all sizes. "The reason we like broadband companies is that they're the picks and shovels of everything else related to that scene. When people buy higher-resolution devices or want better digital music fidelity or add pieces to a connected home, all of that is a secular trend in broadband's favor."

Geographic diversity: Pacific Northwest-based Wave gives the platform more geographic diversity, following RCN (Acela corridor) and Grande (Texas). Not only does this help protect against regional economic troubles, but also will let TPG better test different pricing and promotions in different parts of the country.

Net neutrality: Trujillo says that the deal price was not at all affected by the FCC's net neutrality rollback plans, nor did the Obama-era rules affect RCN's infrastructure investments.

Overbuilds: RCN overbuilds in some markets, which means that it sits on top of existing infrastructure rather than bringing broadband to underserved markets. Trujillo's rationale is that the "ROI is so good on these overbuilds," in part because new housing developments and apartment complexes are regularly being built in such markets.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 6 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.