Alexandra Levine

Who From the Tech World Will End Up in the White House

Both presidential campaigns are facing calls to commit to keeping industry faces and corporate conflicts of interest out of the White House — as speculation swirls about who from the tech world could wind up in the winning administration. Nearly 50 groups -- including Revolving Door Project, Fight for the Future and the Open Markets Institute -- wrote to the candidates pressuring them “to commit not to appoint any individual to a senior policy role in an agency or department w

Tech Priorities MIA in Senate GOP's COVID-19 Plan

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his colleagues outlined their opening salvo for coronavirus relief, there was scant sign of tech priorities, no provisions to close the digital divide (even ones top Republicans had floated) and not even the GOP’s own proposed 

Dozens Weigh In On Admin 5G Security Plan

The Commerce Department, as statutorily obligated by a recent law, sought feedback on how to best implement an administration 5G security strategy and has now posted all its comments. Around 80 parties weighed in, from the city of New York to companies like AT&T, Qualcomm and Ligado.

Biden-Sanders Task Force Platform Touches on Tech, Telecom

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders’ “unity task forces” — which brought together backers of each camp to bridge differences in their agendas — unveiled policy recommendations that featured positions on a number of key tech policy issues. The task force included a recommendation on how the party should approach resurrecting the repealed Obama-era net neutrality protections, saying “Democrats will restore the FCC's clear authority to take strong enforcement action against broadband pro

Cable Ready to help Beyond FCC Pledge

Although the Federal Communications Commission’s voluntary Keep Americans Connected pledge that broadband providers made to help consumers maintain internet access during the pandemic expires June 30, NCTA President Michael Powell says his cable trade group members are preparing to lend a hand regardless of whether it’s extended. “If the pledge is no longer at government insistence or fiat, that won’t really fundamentally change what we’re doing,” said Powell.

Sen Rubio Appointment as Acting Chairman of Intelligence Committee Could Mean More Trouble for Tech and Telecom Giants With Ties to China

Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) appointment as acting chairman of the Intelligence Committee could mean more trouble for tech and telecommunication companies with ties to China. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Sen Rubio’s appointment in the absence of Sen Richard Burr (R-NC), who temporarily stepped down from the top spot while the FBI is investigating his stock trades.

What's on the FTC's Radar During COVID-19

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons told House lawmakers that the agency is “very, very closely” watching how contact tracing efforts by Google, Apple and other tech companies affect Americans’ privacy. “We are all over that,” Chairman Simons said during a call with House Commerce Committee lawmakers, adding that the FTC has been talking to the companies involved. Chairman Simons noted that one of the major players in the effort, Google, is already under an FTC order to uphold certain privacy standards.

John Kwoka Calls For Merger Review Makeover

Northeastern University’s John Kwoka made waves in 2015 with research showing mergers approved in the US over the past 20 years led to higher consumer prices. The economics professor now has a new book on how Congress and the antitrust agencies can improve merger reviews.

Chairman Wicker Ready to Tackle Broadband

As the Senate returns, Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) says he’s ready to dive in on broadband discussions, an especially prime topic as Congress mulls its next phase of coronavirus relief. Chairman Wicker specifically invoked interest in reviewing Federal Communications Commission plans to dole out billions of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund dollars this fall. Chairman Wicker said that the auction would bring broadband to rural America. “We’re going to try to speed that up. It’s scheduled for October of this year.

Rural Internet Providers Struggle to Get Protective Gear

As the pandemic batters America for its second month, small broadband providers are having a harder time finding protective gear needed to allow workers to go into the field. “I got about four emails today from people being like, ‘Help me get PPE, we can't get equipment,’” said Shirley Bloomfield, head of rural telecom trade group NTCA. Rural ISPs are turning to local distilleries for hand sanitizer and lumber yards for gloves, according to Bloomfield. USTelecom has expressed similar anxiety among its larger ISP members and ongoing dialogue with the Department of Homeland Security.