A large coalition of industry groups and public interest lobbyists are pushing Congress to invest in “future-proof” high-speed fiber networks in a battle over how to divvy up the $65 billion proposed to expand broadband internet service. The spending is included in an infrastructure package tentatively agreed to by a bipartisan group of senators and President Joe Biden.
A federal appeals court ruled that Huawei can’t subsidize the sale of its 5G technology with federal funds earmarked for US broadband development because the Federal Communications Commission determined the company is a national security threat. The 5th Circuit Court agreed that the FCC was fully within its power and competence to issue the rule barring “Universal Service Fund” subsidies recipients from buying equipment or services from companies deemed national security risks.
Apple would be prohibited from pre-installing its own apps on Apple devices under recently introduced antitrust reform legislation. Rep David Cicilline (D-RI), who is leading a push to pass new regulations for US technology companies, stated that a proposal prohibiting tech platforms from giving an advantage to their own products over those of competitors would mean Apple can’t ship devices with pre-installed apps on its iOS operating platform.
Google and Amazon defended their smart-speaker businesses as US senators warned the grip the companies have over the market could harm competition and consumer privacy. Both Republicans and Democrats at a June 15 hearing raised concerns about what they said were anticompetitive practices, such as selling devices below cost and promoting companies' own services over those of competitors on their platforms. Representatives from Google and Amazon argued that they prevent this by offering an optional range of rival voice-assistant services on their own devices.
As more Americans cut the cord on traditional landline phones, a government program that subsidizes internet service to poor communities is in danger of collapsing because it relies on taxes from dwindling long-distance calling fees. That’s prompting calls to shore up the more than 20-year-old Universal Service Fund by tapping technology companies that profit from the growing use of broadband. The fund, which distributed $8.3 billion last year, helps connect schools, libraries and rural health care facilities. It also provides a connection subsidy for roughly 7 million poor households.