Some White House officials view next-generation 5G wireless service as a “key area of competition,” and they say that the threat from China, in particular, justifies a “moonshot” government effort like the construction of the interstate highway system. A National Security Council memo urges the Trump administration to consider extraordinary efforts to clear the way for the new technology or even to help build it in order to counter the growing economic and political threat from China’s aggressive efforts to develop 5G.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo resigned from the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, alleging that the committee is dealing internet service providers "a very favorable hand” of policy recommendations. "It has become abundantly clear that despite the good intentions of several participants, the industry-heavy makeup of BDAC will simply relegate the body to being a vehicle for advancing the interests of the telecommunications industry over those of the public,” said Mayor Liccardo.
Facebook will be updating the way news stories are ranked in its News Feed to prioritize original reporting and demoting stories that aren't transparent about who has written them. Facebook says that in order to identify which original stories to promote, it will use artificial intelligence to analyze groups of articles on a particular story topic and identify the ones most often cited as the original source. It's a minor but concrete tweak that Facebook can point to as doing something to minimize misinformation.
Internet service providers' pledges to waive fees and forgive missed payments end on June 30, likely cutting off service for some families who can't pay their bills due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Congress hasn't included funding to pay for broadband bills in its previous COVID-19 packages.
AT&T confirmed it is planning widespread job cuts that include managers and executives, in addition to 3,400 technician and clerical jobs. It will also close 250 retail stores, impacting 1,300 retail jobs. While the cuts can't be separated from the COVID-19 impact on the economy, the moves also come as the mobile industry has consolidated from four national players to three following T-Mobile's acquisition of Sprint. AT&T said the store closures were planned, but accelerated by the pandemic. Most store employees will be offered another job with AT&T, the company said.
Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said he's unsure whether his agency has the authority to carry out President Donald Trump's executive order targeting tech firms' legal protections. President Trump's order seeks to have the FCC craft regulations limiting the scope of legal immunity that online platforms have under federal law.