The House of Representatives passed legislation that would guarantee broadband internet users equal access to online content, in a crucial step toward bringing back so-called net neutrality regulations overturned by the Trump administration. In a 232 to 190 vote, divided along party lines, the Democratic majority made good on a promise that became a rallying cry in many progressive circles during the 2018 election. The legislation prohibits blocking and throttling web traffic and categorizes broadband as a service open to heavy regulation.
A federal judge approved the blockbuster merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the government’s effort to block the $85.4 billion deal, in a decision that is expected to unleash a wave of takeovers in corporate America. Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court in Washington said the Justice Department had not proved that the telecommunication company’s acquisition of Time Warner would lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for television and internet services.
In April 2017, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, led the charge for his agency to approve rules allowing television broadcasters to greatly increase the number of stations they own.
The dependence on Wi-Fi in parking lots shows the lengths to which people are going to combat the country’s digital divide, one of the most stubborn problems in technology — and one the coronavirus has exacerbated. In recent weeks, numerous federal lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, have pushed for legislation to make service more affordable, especially for families with school-age children. But such legislative pushes have happened in the past without ever crossing the finish line.
Phone calls have made a comeback in the pandemic.
Last week, as a wave of stay-at-home orders rolled out across the United States, the average time it took to download videos, emails and documents increased as broadband speeds declined 4.9 percent from the previous week, according to Ookla, a broadband speed testing service.
As millions of people across the US shift to working and learning from home this week to limit the spread of the coronavirus, they will test internet networks with one of the biggest mass behavior changes that the nation has experienced. That is set to strain the internet’s underlying infrastructure, with the burden likely to be particularly felt in two areas: the home networks that people have set up in their residences, and the home internet services from Comcast, Charter and Verizon that those home networks rely on.
Anger toward big technology companies has led to multiple antitrust investigations, calls for a new federal data privacy law and criticism of the companies’ political ad policies. Perhaps no issue about the tech companies, though, has united lawmakers in the Capitol like the decimation of local news. Lawmakers from both parties blame companies like Facebook and Google, which dominate the online ad industry. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave a big boost to a bill that may provide some papers a lifeboat.
As the $26 billion blockbuster merger between T-Mobile and Sprint teetered this summer, Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, labored to rescue it behind the scenes, according to text messages revealed in a lawsuit to block the deal. Delrahim connected company executives with the Federal Communications Commission and members of Congress.
Apparently, a number of the US’ biggest chip makers have sold millions of dollars of products to Huawei despite a Trump administration ban on the sale of American technology to the Chinese telecommunications company. Since the Commerce Department enacted the ban in May, American companies including Intel and Micron have found ways to sell technology to Huawei. The components began to flow to Huawei about three weeks ago. Goods produced by American companies overseas are not always considered American-made, and the suppliers are taking advantage of this.