Supreme Court justices wrestled with Microsoft’s dispute with the US Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue. Microsoft argues that laws have not caught up to modern computing infrastructure and it should not hand over data stored internationally. The Justice Department argues that refusing to turn over easily accessible data impedes criminal investigations.
Historically, the government has subsidized the building of broadband networks by offering incentives to private companies such as Verizon, Comcast and AT&T. But in a break from the past, Biden's proposal calls for prioritizing funding, for the first time, to community-built networks. And the plan isn't just focused on building out broadband in rural or outlying areas. Some of the most persistent examples of the digital divide can be found in dense urban neighborhoods struggling with poverty or inequality.
Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T held events to update investors and analysts on spectrum auction results, and laid out plans for expanding their 5G networks. There is "no question" the carriers' new spectrum holdings will improve consumers' experience of using 5G, said Craig Moffett, founding partner and analyst at MoffettNathanson. But the carriers largely expect it will take several years to put the new spectrum to use. This spectrum auction helps the carriers, especially AT&T and Verizon, fill a key gap in their 5G networks.
Congress' December Covid-19 relief bill included $3.2 billion to help low-income Americans pay for broadband service, as the country continues its push toward recovery from the health and economic crisis. Registration for consumers are expected to begin next month.
Some of the same internet have-nots who have been at risk of losing access to remote education, telemedicine and social connections throughout the pandemic are now at risk of being left out when it comes to registering for the vaccine.