Startup News Digest 2/1/19

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

The Big Story: The net neutrality week we've been waiting for. The next seven days will see a lot of action in the fight to restore net neutrality protections on two fronts: at the court and on the Hill.

Oral arguments in the lawsuit challenging the FCC’s repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules kicked off this morning. Those 2015 net neutrality rules kept the Internet a level playing field for startups by preventing Internet Service Providers from blocking or slowing traffic online and from charging companies for better access to users. Engine has long argued that the FCC’s decision to repeal the rules in 2017 will hurt the thriving startup ecosystem in the U.S. as well as the venture capital community that supports that ecosystem.

On the Hill, lawmakers will debate net neutrality at a hearing next Thursday titled “Preserving an Open Internet for Consumers, Small Businesses, and Free Speech” and held by the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology. The Chairman of that subcommittee, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), has been a vocal advocate for strong net neutrality protections and lead the fight in the House last year for a measure that would have reversed the FCC’s repeal of the 2015 rules. 


Policy Roundup:

Startup Act reintroduced. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kans.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) reintroduced their Startup Act this week. As we explained in our letter supporting the effort, the bill “will allow startup founders to stay in the U.S. and create the next great American company.”

Sprint-T-Mobile scrutiny. Lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on the proposed $26 billion deal to combine Sprint and T-Mobile.

And a 5G hearing too. The Senate Commerce Committee announced that it will hold a hearing next week on the development of the country’s next-generation wireless networks.

And now we wait on smartphone fight. This week saw closing arguments in the FTC’s case against Qualcomm, where the agency argued that the chip maker used its market power to force handset companies, including Apple, into paying high royalties.

Pressure to fight fake news. European Union officials are calling on Internet platforms including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Mozilla to make faster progress to combat fake news campaigns before the EU elections this May.