Verizon Communications is close to a renegotiated deal for Yahoo! Inc.’s internet properties that would reduce the price of the $4.8 billion agreement by about $250 million after the revelation of security breaches at the web company, apparently. In addition to the discount, Verizon and the entity that remains of Yahoo after the deal, to be renamed Altaba Inc., are expected to share any ongoing legal responsibilities related to the breaches, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. An announcement of the new agreement could come in a matter of days or weeks.
Two senior congressional telecommunications aides, David Redl and David Quinalty, are said to be vying to lead the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, apparently. The NTIA is a Department of Commerce agency that plays a critical role in managing one of the country’s most valuable, if intangible, natural resources: radio wave spectrum. The wireless industry is hungry to get its hands on some of those airwaves in coming years, likely giving the agency more influence over the industry’s future. President Donald Trump will nominate the next NTIA administrator, subject to Senate confirmation.
Redl, current Republican chief counsel for communications and technology on the House Commerce Committee, is said to have thrown his hat into a ring already filled with several other contenders for the position, according to the sources. Redl has been a lawyer with the committee since 2011. He previously worked as director of regulatory affairs at CTIA, the largest wireless industry trade group. Quinalty, senior policy director on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, is also said to be interested in the role, as well as a possible position on President Donald Trump’s National Economic Council, the sources said. Quinalty has been a GOP aide on the committee since 2009.
[Commentary] In his early days in office, true to his campaign promises, President Donald Trump is promoting a $1 trillion plan to upgrade the nation's aging physical infrastructure. To maximize job creation, investment and benefits to all Americans, he should also focus on our "invisible infrastructure" -- the unseen airwaves that enable wireless connections.
As a start, here are some ideas the new administration should pursue as part of an Invisible Infrastructure Initiative: 1) expand the spectrum pipeline, 2) focus on government spectrum, and 3) remove barriers to expanding broadband.
[Julius Genachowski, former chairman of the FCC, is a managing director and partner at the Carlyle Group.]
Facebook has put itself at the forefront of efforts to recruit a more diverse workforce, including a targeted internal recruiting strategy in 2015 designed to bring in female, black and Latino software engineers. Yet within Facebook’s engineering department, the push has been hampered by a multi-layered hiring process that gives a small committee of high-ranking engineers veto power over promising candidates, frustrating recruiters and hindering progress on diversity goals.
Facebook started incentivizing recruiters in 2015 to find engineering candidates who weren't already well represented at the company – women, black and Latino workers. But during the final stage for engineering hires, the decision-makers were risk-averse, often declining the minority candidates. The engineering leaders making the ultimate choices, almost all white or Asian men, often assessed candidates on traditional metrics like where they attended college, whether they had worked at a top tech firm, or whether current Facebook employees could vouch for them, according to former recruiters, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly about their work.
Congress has never looked like America. Capitol Hill lawmakers have long been overwhelmingly middle-aged, professional white men who are also much wealthier and better-educated than the people they represent. Still, every new biennial Congress, including the 115th Congress, ushers in small changes in the membership that reflect a diversifying US population. One notable characteristic: an uptick in lawmakers who were born outside the country. 2017’s newcomers include lawmakers born in India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Viet Nam. They’re part of a freshman class that numbers 55 in the House and seven in the Senate. Reps Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) are following in the footsteps of their fathers, both of whom served in a variety of federal offices including in the House of Representatives. The Senate’s freshman class includes a different kind of familiar name: John Kennedy. The one being sworn in today is a Republican from Louisiana.
Tech executives summoned to meet with President-elect Donald Trump in New York had reason to suspect they were being lured into a trap. In the run-up to the election, the President-elect clashed with industry bellwethers over such issues as immigration, manufacturing and smartphone security. But concerns that the new administration would similarly use the Trump summit to browbeat big tech evaporated not long after the industry elite made their way through Trump Tower lobby, surrounded by reporters, security and enormous shining Christmas wreaths. Seated at a long conference table, near Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, President-elect Trump laid the compliments on thick.
Verizon Communications is exploring a price cut or possible exit from its $4.83 billion pending acquisition of Yahoo!, after the company reported a second major e-mail hack affecting as many as 1 billion users, apparently. While a Verizon group led by AOL Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong is still focused on integration planning to get Yahoo up and running, another team, walled off from the rest, is reviewing the breach disclosures and the company’s options, apparently.
The US Senate adjourned without confirming Jessica Rosenworcel for a second term on the Federal Communications Commission, forcing her out of office and setting up the agency for a partisan deadlock as the Republican administration of Donald J. Trump begins. Without other changes, the Democrat’s departure would leave the FCC hindered, with two Republicans and two Democrats on the five-member panel, until the Senate can confirm a Republican to gain a majority.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Wheeler, 70, can stay with the commission until 2018 and he hasn’t said when he may leave. In the most recent transfer of power, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, left on Obama’s inauguration day although he had more than two years remaining in his term. Lawmakers had been working on Rosenworcel's confirmation for more than a year. Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said her confirmation was supposed to be part of an agreement struck in 2015 to jointly confirm both a Republican and a Democrat at the same time. Michael O’Rielly received confirmation, but Rosenworcel did not.
Critics, including more than a dozen former top Google executives who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements, describe a company having trouble balancing innovation and its core business, search advertising. Over the 12 months ended in September, Google’s ad business accounted for 89 percent of Alphabet’s revenue, or $76.1 billion. As one ex-executive puts it, “No one wants to face the reality that this is an advertising company with a bunch of hobbies.”
Writing network neutrality legislation and broadly updating the Communications Act will be major priorities in the next Congress, top Republican and Democratic congressional aides said Dec 2. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) is “very interested” in working with Democrats to create legislation that would authorize the Federal Communications Commission to enforce looser net neutrality standards, David Quinalty, the committee's policy director, said at a Washington (DC) panel discussion with other Capitol Hill staffers. The FCC, meanwhile, is widely expected to roll back its existing net neutrality rules, passed on a party-line vote in 2015, during the next administration.
Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) and House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) are open to working with their GOP counterparts on net neutrality legislation, aides for those panels said. Ranking Member Pallone would just have to be sure that any bill provides a “good deal for consumers,” David Goldman, the House committee Democrats' chief counsel, said.