The Federal Communication Commission voted today to roll back net neutrality rules put in place during the Obama administration. In a 3-to-2 vote along partisan lines, the agency ruled that internet providers are no longer required to treat all internet content equally and can deliver some content faster than others. Ajit Pai, who was appointed to lead the FCC by President Donald Trump, said that the decision would encourage competition and spur innovation.

Here's a fantasy: A world where you never had to wait in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Save for the driving test, you could do almost everything online — from changing your address to renewing your license.

Other things in life — like voting and going to the doctor — would work just as efficiently. Any doctor you'd visit would already have access to your digitally stored medical records, and you’d never have to fill out one of those medical history forms in the waiting room.

12/14/2017: Rethinking the office holiday party

Dec 14, 2017

(Markets Edition) Disney has confirmed it's buying most of 21st Century Fox, which will give the media conglomerate a major advantage when it comes to sports and streaming. We'll discuss whether this acquisition could give it what it needs to take on the likes of Netflix. Afterwards, we'll look at what Fed Chair Janet Yellen had to say about the GOP's tax overhaul and its potential effects on the economy. Plus: How some companies are canceling holiday parties amid the news of sexual harassment scandals. 

Disney to take on Silicon Valley with Fox merger

Dec 14, 2017

The Walt Disney Company is set to buy movie studios and a package of TV and cable businesses from the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in a deal worth more than $52 billion.

Some of the properties Disney will acquire include Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Television and FX Productions, which house shows like "The Simpsons" and major franchises like "X-Men." 

Disney announces deal with Fox

Dec 14, 2017

The Walt Disney Company has announced it's purchasing a movie studio and a package of TV, sports and other businesses from the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox. The deal is worth more than $66 billion in stock and debt. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.


Office holiday party season is here. Traditionally the idea has been to relax and let your hair down with colleagues. But people have been known to get a little too relaxed at these things … and with allegations of sexual harassment dominating the news, some companies are making changes this year.

12/14/2017: Disney wants to take on Silicon Valley

Dec 14, 2017

(U.S. Edition) With Disney set to purchase 21st Century Fox assets for more than $50 billion, we'll look at the company's rationale for the deal and the antitrust problems that this merger could pose. Afterwards, we'll discuss what the GOP's tax overhaul — which Republicans in both the House and Senate have forged a deal on — could mean for taxpayers. Finally, we'll chat with Marketplace's Molly Wood about what the FCC's roll back of net neutrality could mean in the long-term. 

12/14/2017: Central banks in the spotlight

Dec 14, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service…the U.S. Federal Reserve voted to raise interest rates on Wednesday, but two more important central bank decisions are happening Thursday. We’ll explain why inflation is top of mind for two key European banks. Then, before net neutrality became a divisive issue in America, it was the subject of much debate in India. We’ll explore why the nation’s regulator favored equal treatment of Internet users. Afterwards, the “Me, too” movement shined a glaring spotlight on sexual abuse —now a new campaign in the U.K.

Los Angeles is in its second week of trying to contain the Thomas fire that has spread through two counties. Millions of acres have burned across the U.S. this year, and one fire killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in California wine country in October. What role is technology playing in preventing harm from wildfires? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood talks with Brandon Collins, a research scientist at UC Berkeley’s Center for Fire Research and Outreach, about fire prevention technology – and its limits. 

What tech can — and can't — do to prevent and put out wildfires

Dec 14, 2017

This year has been a terrible one for wildfires. Millions of acres in Montana, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and North Carolina and South Carolina have been damaged. There was the fire in California that killed 44 people and burned thousands of homes and businesses in wine country in October. And now, Los Angeles has entered its second week of the Thomas fire.

Updated at 9:48 a.m. ET

PBS will no longer distribute Tavis Smiley following what a spokeswoman called "multiple, credible" allegations of sexual misconduct uncovered by a recent investigation into the late-night show host's behavior.

A Kentucky state lawmaker has apparently killed himself after facing several allegations in reports by the investigative arm of Louisville Public Media — the most serious of which was the alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl in the basement of the church where he served as pastor.

Madeleine L'Engle, the author of the classic novel "A Wrinkle in Time," believed "there comes a point where you can go as far as thinking will take you, and then you will move into the world that might become fantasy, which is that world beyond where your mind will take you, and then you stop, you stop short, and you listen."

12/13/2017: The abuse liability of a drug

Dec 13, 2017

“Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.” That’s a sentence from OxyContin’s original label, and after months of investigation, Marketplace podcast The Uncertain Hour has found it an important factor in setting off the opioid crisis. And today we break down Janet Yellen’s last news conference and review the deal the House and Senate struck to move the tax bill along.

The GOP tax plan moves closer to being done

Dec 13, 2017

House and Senate negotiators agreed on the framework of the GOP tax bill this morning. We know some things about it. The bill will lower the corporate income tax rate to 21 percent. It will let people deduct some state and local taxes. It will lower the top individual income tax rate. President Donald Trump praised the bill. "This is for the people of middle income, the companies that are going to create jobs," Trump said. "This is for very very special people, the great people of America." We asked experts how they view the bill.

This year's Atlantic hurricane season is billed as the most expensive in U.S. history. Estimates vary depending on who's measuring the costs and over what period of time, but we're talking up to $400 billion in damages between Harvey, Irma and Maria. Millions of homes were damaged or destroyed. In Rockport, Texas, some estimate 80 percent of the homes and buildings were wiped out. So where do residents there live while the town picks up the pieces?

How Condé Nast became an entertainment company

Dec 13, 2017

Dawn Ostroff's last job was running The CW, which was then a newly launched network aimed at young people. A little over five years ago, she left Hollywood to join Condé Nast, the magazine publisher behind such titles as Vogue and Vanity Fair. As president of Condé Nast Entertainment, Ostroff was charged with figuring out how to turn published magazine articles into films and television shows and more than that, to figure out ways to turn Condé Nast from a print company into a digital media company too.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is raising its key interest rate for the third time this year and foresees three additional hikes in 2018, a vote of confidence that the U.S. economy remains on solid footing 8 and a half years after the end of the Great Recession.

How Condé Nast went from magazine publisher to entertainment company

Dec 13, 2017

Five years ago, Condé Nast, the venerated magazine publisher, launched a whole new division that had nothing to do with print. Condé Nast Entertainment pumps out viral video content like the popular "73 Questions" series for Vogue. It's also tasked with adapting the company's vast catalog of print material for the film and digital-video audience.

Saudi culture is undergoing seismic change: Women are now allowed to drive, music concerts have been held, and this week the kingdom announced it was lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas. The first ones are expected to open next March, and it's a massive business opportunity.

Estimates say the Saudi industry could be worth as much as $25 billion.

(Markets Edition) The president of the National Federation of Independent Business says small businesses are feeling very optimistic right now, in large part because of the GOP's planned tax overhaul. However, John Arensmeyer — CEO of the Small Business Majority — stopped by to explain why not all of them are happy.

Ajit Pai's new internet

Dec 13, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission will vote to eliminate net neutrality rules this week. Despite concerns about the integrity of the comment period, FCC chairman Ajit Pai told us the vote will happen Dec. 14.

Obamacare’s open enrollment period closes for most states Friday. Thanks to a complicated federal formula, a spike in premiums this year has given consumers who are eligible for subsidies more money to buy insurance. And early signs suggest some people in California and Washington state are going for the gold —the gold, normally expensive, plans.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

(U.S. Edition) The House and Senate are trying to bolt their tax plans together amid pressure from the White House to get this done before Christmas. We'll take a look at where both chambers stand after negotiations last night. Afterwards, we'll talk to Marketplace producer Caitlin Esch about the opioid crisis as part of our "Uncertain Hour" podcast. Between 1995 and 2015 alone, 300,000 people died from overdoses involving OxyContin and other opioids.

Some Capitol Hill lawmakers say a rushed tax bill is not such a big deal, because a technical corrections bill can happen early next year. But given the uncertain nature of today’s politics, that could be harder or take longer than expected.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

12/13/2017: Evolution in entertainment

Dec 13, 2017

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … A major deal is underway in the media industry with 21st Century Fox in talks to sell its entertainment assets to Disney. We explain what that means for customers worldwide. And a more than three-decade ban on commercial cinemas is coming to an end in Saudi Arabia. We chat with a filmmaker in the region who says the move will create a Saudi film industry that could change the entire culture there. 

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will vote on whether to eliminate net neutrality rules. Those regulations were created under the Obama administration, and prevent internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from favoring certain content over others. The current FCC says companies should be able to do what they like, as long as they are transparent about it. This is controversial, and the public comment system on the FCC’s proposed rules was overtaken by spam and fake accounts.

S02-4: The sentence that helped set off the opioid crisis

Dec 13, 2017

When OxyContin went to market in 1996, sales reps from Purdue Pharma hit one point particularly hard: Compared to other prescription opioids, this new painkiller was believed to be less likely to be addictive or abused.

But recently unsealed documents in this investigative episode shed light on how the maker of OxyContin seems to have relied more on focus groups than on scientific studies to create an aggressive and misleading marketing campaign that helped fuel the national opioid crisis.

How one sentence helped set off the opioid crisis

Dec 13, 2017

OxyContin went to market in 1996 with a campaign by Purdue Pharma that suggested a less abusable drug, one that doctors could prescribe for moderate pain, in addition to severe pain.

At the center of the company’s marketing aimed at physicians was a single sentence in OxyContin’s original label:

“Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.”

Updated at 12:44 a.m. ET

Democrat Doug Jones has won the Alabama Senate special election, a victory that was a stunning upset in a deeply red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump. The president, who had backed Republican Roy Moore despite multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and assault, congratulated Jones on Twitter.