Startup News Digest 5/18/2018

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: Senate passes net neutrality repeal reversal. With a bipartisan 52-47 vote, the Senate passed a measure to overturn the FCC’s repeal of its 2015 net neutrality rules.

Republican Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and John Kennedy (La.) voted with the 49 Senate Democrats on both a procedural vote to consider the Congressional Review Act resolution as well as final passage. The resolution would undo the FCC’s repeal of its net neutrality rules that kept ISPs from blocking or slowing access to certain websites or charging websites and other edge providers for better access to users. The repeal is set to go into effect next month.

Now the fight moves to the House, where Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) has filed a net neutrality discharge petition, which would force a vote on the measure on the House floor. House discharge petitions require that a simple majority of the House, or 218 members, sign on before a vote is forced on the floor. Earlier this year, Doyle introduced the House companion to the Senate CRA resolution. The House companion is currently supported by 167 Democrats.

Policy Roundup:

Rules for David and Goliath.
Evan teamed up with Stanford Law’s Daphne Keller to explain why policymakers need to think about startups as they try to think through new rules for major Internet platforms.

Long live troll-free podcasting. The Supreme Court declined to take up a case this week that could have reopened a lower court’s decision to invalidate a podcasting patent that a company was using to threaten lawsuits against podcasters and tech companies.

How many billions? New research out this week shows that unlicensed spectrum currently contributes more than $500 billion to the U.S. economy, a number that is expected to grow to more than $800 billion by 2020.

An ally for startups fighting patent trolls. The LOT Network announced new efforts this week to bring startups into the network and give them free patents.

Tech addiction? Two Democratic Senators are asking the National Institutes of Health for information about whether people are becoming addicted to technology.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Kansas City, Missouri.
This week we talked with Ryan Weber, President of the KC Tech Council, a group that represents tech companies and works to attract and retain players in the tech industry in Kansas City. Weber credits the area's growth to several factors, including the presence of the health tech industry as well as how easy it is to travel from Kansas City to anywhere in the U.S. On his policy wishlist is a new look at how to train the tech talent of tomorrow.