Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

  1. Net neutrality: New chairman Ajit Pai's criticism of a 2015 set of net neutrality protections is well known. But he hasn't yet made it clear how and when he plans to revisit those rules and the reclassification of broadband as a utility.
  2. Antitrust: In the past Pai has been opposed to merger reviews that stick companies with a broad set of conditions. He may not comment on any pending transactions (think AT&T-Time Warner) but Pai's views will matter to the fortunes of any major telecom deals in the coming years. Any comments he makes come against the backdrop of a president who has expressed fears about media consolidation — and pledge on the campaign trail to address the issue.
  3. Broadband deployment: Pai has said that closing the digital divide is going to be a priority of his chairmanship. He's already laid out policy prescriptions to expand internet access in rural and low-income areas, but could provide more detail about how this will translate into commission action. He also has not said anything yet about his plans for the Lifeline program, which provides phone and internet service to low-income people.

Why it matters: The FCC chair's agenda could have an impact on telecom giants and Silicon Valley startups alike, not to mention the millions of American consumers who use their services.

Where to watch: The FCC's open meeting can be streamed live here, with the press conference to follow.

Go deeper

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes.

  • A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

  • With a firm moderator, NBC News' Kristen Welker — along with threats of mic cutoffs and advisers' pleas for Trump to cool it — voters finally heard clear contrasts.
  • Trump swung several times, but never quite landed a punch as he tried to connect Biden to a nebulous cloud of allegations about business dealings by his son Hunter.

Between the lines: Trump didn't focus on assuring women voters or seniors. But his economic argument could reassure some men in swing states.

  • Trump went back to 2016 mode — the outsider, chiding career politicians. But he's one of them now.

During an exchange about race in America, Trump said: "Nobody has done more for the black community than Donald Trump, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln — possible exception. ... I'm the least racist person in this room."

  • Biden retorted sarcastically, referring to Trump: "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history."


Reporting was contributed by Stef Kight, Alexi McCammond, David Nather and Hans Nichols.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.