Tony Romm

White House proposes smaller $1.7 trillion infrastructure package to try to sway skeptical Republicans

The White House told Senate Republicans it is open to reducing its infrastructure proposal down to $1.7 trillion in the hopes of securing a bipartisan deal, but GOP lawmakers signaled they are still disinclined to support a package carrying that price tag. The new offer, described afterward by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, appears to mark a decrease from the total $2.2 trillion President Biden proposed earlier this spring. The new plan is expected to lessen the money available for broadband, and reduce the money set aside for roads and bridges, to bring the president

House, Senate Democrats unveil $94 billion bill to improve Internet access

Thirty House and Senate Democrats unveiled a new $94 billion proposal to make broadband Internet access more accessible and affordable nationwide, aiming to remedy some of the digital inequalities that have kept millions of Americans offline during the coronavirus pandemic. The new effort, chiefly authored by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), marks one of the most expensive, ambitious broadband packages proposed in recent years.

Net neutrality law to take effect in California after judge deals blow to telecom industry

California may soon begin enforcing its first-in-the-nation net neutrality law after a federal judge ruled against broadband providers that had sought to scuttle the state’s open-Internet safeguards.

Lacking a Lifeline: How a federal effort to help low-income Americans pay their phone bills failed amid the pandemic

The coronavirus has reinforced the Internet as the fabric of modern American life, a luxury-turned-necessity for a generation now forced to work, learn and communicate primarily through the Web. But it also has laid bare the country’s inequalities — and the role Washington has played in exacerbating these long-known divides.

Comcast suspends Internet data limits, fees for Northeast customers

Comcast will suspend its new fees on heavy home Internet users in more than a dozen Northeastern states, reversing course on a policy that threatened higher bills for some families amid the coronavirus pandemic. Comcast will postpone the new charges after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D-PA) raised concerns that Comcast’s policy threatened to disproportionately harm cash-strapped Americans who are learning, working, and communicating primarily online.

Pressure builds on President Biden, Democrats to revive net neutrality rules

More than three years ago, Jessica Rosenworcel could only react in horror as her Republican counterparts on the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the US government’s net neutrality rules. Now, Acting FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel controls the very commission she once criticized for failing to heed the public’s outcry.

Biden’s policies on technology

President-elect Joe Biden is set to have a very different relationship with the tech industry from when he served as vice president. Tech companies have grown more powerful over the past four years — and more perilous. They have continued to amass data and wealth. But they have been used as tools for election interference and disinformation, contributing to the divide in the nation.

President Trump lashes out at social media companies following Twitter ban

President Donald Trump said that the social media sites had made a “catastrophic mistake” and acted in a politically “divisive” manner after punishing him for comments the companies said threatened to incite violence.

FTC and states sue Facebook as an illegal monopoly, setting stage for potential breakup

The Federal Trade Commission and 48 state attorneys general filed wide-ranging antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, setting the stage for a potential breakup of the social-networking giant over charges it engaged in illegal, anti-competitive tactics to buy, bully or kill its rivals. The twin lawsuits filed in federal district court chiefly challenge Facebook’s past acquisition of two companies: Instagram, a photo-sharing tool, and WhatsApp, a messaging service.

Senate confirms Trump nominee for FCC, threatening deadlock under Biden

The Senate confirmed Nathan Simington as a new Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission, a move that threatens to saddle the nation’s foremost telecom regulator with political deadlock at the start of the Biden administration. The chamber backed Simington on a 49-46 vote, installing a new commissioner at the FCC who has pledged “regulatory stability” and expressed an openness to using the agency’s rule-making powers to explore the way social-media sites handle political speech.