Startup News Digest 2/16/2018

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: Infrastructure talk takes over DC. Infrastructure was the buzzword of the week, which kicked off with the Trump administration unveiling its infrastructure plan. The plan—billed as a $1.5 trillion boost—calls for a $200 billion boost to federal infrastructure spending, with the rest of the funding coming from state and local governments.

Most notably in the tech space, the plan contains no dedicated funding for broadband expansion. Instead, it would let states decide how to divide the funding between several infrastructure projects, including broadband but also transportation, power, water resources, and more. As we highlight in a recent blog post, members of the startup community routinely cite Internet access as one of the major contributing factors to their ecosystem’s success, and we hope federal, state, and local policymakers take those needs into account when doling out infrastructure spending.

Policy Roundup:

Senate rejects immigration proposals.
The Senate voted this week to reject two immigration proposals: a bipartisan proposal, and a proposal that mirrored President Donald Trump’s immigration framework.

Cloudflare beats patent troll in court. This week, a federal court dismissed a patent troll’s case against Cloudflare, in the process invalidating a data-stream monitoring patent for being an abstract idea.

Internet-enabled creative economy. The Re:Create coalition is out with a new study this week, highlighting the rise of independent creators across the country and the role the Internet plays in this new creative economy.

Encryption report out. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released its long-awaited encryption report this week, which lays out a set of questions that policymakers should consider as they debate encryption proposals.

FTC nominees talk tech. During a confirmation hearing for the four nominees to fill open spots on the Federal Trade Commission, the nominees touched on several tech issues, including the increasing awareness around data breach issues.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Burlington, Vermont. For this week’s installment, we talked to David Bradbury of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies. He attributes Burlington, Vermont’s success to a few factors, including Vermont’s forward-thinking approach to blockchain technology, the state’s authorization of an early stage state-sponsored venture fund in 2009, and a big boost from U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who co-founded an incubator for Vermont’s entrepreneurs.