Apr 14, 2017

Y Combinator pushes startups into the net neutrality fight

Paul Miller / Flickr cc

Tech incubators and advocacy groups are trying to line up startup support in the brewing fight over the fate of the FCC's net neutrality rules. Powerhouse tech incubator Y Combinator, accelerator Techstars and startup advocacy group Engine are organizing an effort to push back on FCC Chairman's rumored plan to undo current net neutrality rules. The groups started soliciting signatures from companies earlier this week for a letter to Pai.

This paragraph sums up the letter:

"Fortunately, in 2015 the Federal Communications Commission put in place light touch net neutrality rules that not only prohibit certain harmful practices, but also allow the Commission to develop and enforce rules to address new forms of discrimination. We are concerned by reports that you would replace this system with a set of minimum voluntary commitments, which would give a green light for Internet access providers to discriminate in unforeseen ways."

Why it matters: Y Combinator brings a big brand name in the startup world to the fight over the net neutrality rules. Its head, Sam Altman, has already written in favor of the current regulatory regime. Evan Engstrom, Engine's executive director, said that the goal "is to get startups from every state to weigh in" and that the organizations are "pretty close to that goal."

Sound smart:

  • It's not a huge surprise that small startups are eager to engage in the fight over net neutrality. They don't have to make the same political calculations as big companies that have other issues on their plates, and they generally favor regulations that put them on a level playing field with those companies.
  • The Internet Association, the industry trade group representing Silicon Valley giants (think Google, Facebook and Netflix), told Pai earlier this week that they support existing net neutrality rules, but it remains to be seen how forcefully their member companies lobby against efforts to weaken the rules.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 5,494,287 — Total deaths: 346,229 — Total recoveries — 2,31,722Map.
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  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
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  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
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Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pro-Hong Kong resolution at British university fails after Chinese student opposition

A protester waves the Hong Kong colonial flag during a July 2019 demonstration against the extradition law to China. Photo: Ivan Abreu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A student resolution expressing support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement was voted down at the University of Warwick in England, after opposition from mainland Chinese students.

Why it matters: The charged politics of China's actions in Hong Kong are spilling over to university campuses thousands of miles away, raising questions for students and university administrators about how to protect democratic values.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

California announced Monday that places of worship and retailers can reopen statewide if they maintain strict measures and meet certain other conditions.

Zoom in: The state health department said in new guidance attendance for churches and other places of worship must have approval from county health officials to reopen and cap attendance at 25% of the building's capacity or no more than 100 people. In-store retail can resume statewide.