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Verizon's Swiss Army Knife for communication and disaster response. Photo: Verizon

This is THOR, Verizon's Tactical Humanitarian Operations Response vehicle, which the communications giant calls a 5G-enabled Swiss Army Knife on wheels.

Why it matters: It's a prototype of a vehicle that the Verizon Response Team — which handles major emergencies — could send to a disaster zone like a wildfire or hurricane to establish communications when other networks are down. It enables emergency responders from multiple agencies to communicate more easily.

Details: Built on a modified Ford F650 chassis, THOR can provide its own mobile network, along with commercial satellite options and radio communications.

  • It can be operated remotely from a tablet and comes with a drone that can fly ahead to provide aerial views for situational awareness.

Fun fact: Verizon's Response Team has a menagerie of field equipment they call The Barnyard: COWs (Cell On Wheels), COLTs (Cell On Light Trucks), CROWs (Cellular Repeater On Wheels) and GOATs (Generator On A Trailer).

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Aug 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

Groups withdraw objections to Verizon-Tracfone deal

Photo: Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images

Several groups that had opposed Verizon's purchase of Tracfone say that they are satisfied with fresh commitments being made to the FCC and will withdraw their objections to the deal.

Why it matters: The status of Verizon's purchase of the low-cost prepaid brand had been unclear amid the concerns.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 mins ago - Technology

Facebook's scandals have been great for shareholders

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios

Facebook has been embroiled in scandal for the past five years, and while the specific allegations change over time, a central theme is constant. Given the choice between commercial and moral imperatives, Facebook always seems to choose the option that is best for the share price.

Why it matters: Facebook's stock chart supports that narrative. Since the 2016 scandals alleging that the social network was infiltrated by foreign actors trying to influence the outcome of democratic elections, Facebook's revenues — and its stock — have been soaring.

Biden to tap telecom trio for NTIA, FCC posts

Jessica Rosenworcel. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

President Joe Biden on Tuesday is expected to name Alan Davidson as head of the telecom arm of the Commerce Department, Jessica Rosenworcel as chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission and Gigi Sohn as a commissioner at the FCC, according to a person familiar with the process.

Why it matters: Internet availability and affordability has been a key policy priority for the White House, but the administration lagged in tapping people for the agency posts that oversee the issues.