These Johns Hopkins students are slashing breast cancer biopsy costs

Over 2 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018. And while the diagnosis doesn’t have to be a death sentence for women in countries like the United States, in developing countries three times as many women die from the disease.

Breast cancer survival rates range from 80% or over in North America, Sweden and Japan to around 60% in middle-income countries and below 40% in low-income countries, according to data provided the World Health Organization.

And the WHO blames these low survival rates in less developed countries on the lack of early detection programs, which result in a higher proporation of women presenting with late-stage disease. The problem is exacerbated by a lack of adequate diagnostic technologies and treatment facilities, according to the WHO.

A group of Johns Hopkins University undergraduates believe they have found a solution. The four women, none of whom are over 21-years-old, have developed a new, low-cost, disposable core needle biopsy technology for physicians and nurses that could dramatically reduce cost and waste, thereby increasing the availability of screening technologies in emerging markets.

They’ve taken the technology they developed at Johns Hopkins University and created a new startup called Ithemba, which means “hope” in Swahili, to commercialize their device. While the company is still in its early days, the women recently won the undergraduate Lemelson-MIT Student Prize competition, and has received $60,000 in non-dilutive grant funding and a $10,000 prize associated with the Lemelson award.

Students at Johns Hopkins had been working through the problem of developing low-cost diagnostic tools for breast cancer for the past three years, spurred on by Dr. Susan Harvey, the head of Johns Hopkins Section of Breast Imaging.

While Dr. Harvey presented the problem, and several students tried to tackle it, Ithemba’s co-founders — the biomedical engineering undergrads Laura Hinson, Madeline Lee, Sophia Triantis, and Valerie Zawicki — were the first to bring a solution to market.

Ithemba co-founders Laura Hinson, Madeline Lee, Valerie Zawicki and Sophia Triantis

The 21-year-old Zawicki, who grew up in Long Beach, Calif., has a personal connection to the work the team is doing. When she was just five years old her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the cost of treatment and toll it took on the family forced the family to separate. “My sister moved in with my grandparents,” Zawicki says, while her mother underwent treatment. “When I came to college I was looking for a way to make an impact in the healthcare space and was really inspired by the care my mom received.”

The same is true for Zawicki’s co-founder, Triantis.

“We have an opportunity to  solve problems that really need solving,” says Triantis, a 20-year-old undergraduate. “Breast cancer has affected so many people close to me… It is the most common cancer among women [and] the fact that women in low resource settings do not have the same standard of diagnostic care really inspired me to work on a solution.”

What the four women have made is a version of a core-needled biopsy that has a lower risk of contamination than the reusable devices that are currently on the market and is cheaper than the expensive disposable needles that are the only other option, the founders say.

We’ve designed a novel, disposable portion that attaches to the reusable device and the disposable portion has an ability to trap contaminants that would come back through the needle into the device,” says Triantis. “What we’ve created is a way to trap that and have that full portion be disposable and making the device as easy to clean as possible… with a bleach wipe.”

Ithemba’s low-cost reusable core-needle biopsy device

The company is currently in the process of doing benchtop tests on the device, and will look to file a 510K to be certified as a Class 2 medical device. Already a clinic in South Africa and a hospital in Peru are on board as early customers for the new biopsy tool.

At the heart of the new tool is a mechanism which prevents blood from being drawn back into a needle. The team argues it makes reusable needles much less susceptible to contamination and can replace the disposable needles that are too expensive for many emerging market clinics and hospitals.

Zawicki had been working on the problem for a while when Hinson, Lee, and Triantis joined up. “I joined the team when the problem was presented,” says Zawicki. “The project began with this problem that was pitched three years ago, but the four of us are really those that have brought this to life in terms of a device.”

Crucially for the team, Johns Hopkins was fully supportive of the women taking their intellectual property and owning it themselves. “We received written approval from the tech transfer office to file independently,” says Zawicki. “That is really unique.” 

Coupled with the Lemelson award, Ithemba sees a clear path to ownership of the intellectual property and is filing patents on its device.

Zawicki says that it could be anywhere from three to five years before the device makes it on to the market, but there’s the potential for partnerships with big companies in the biopsy space that could accelerate that time to market.

“Once we get that process solidified and finalize our design we will wrap up our benchtop testing so we can move toward clinical trials by next summer, in 2020,” Zawicki says.

Zipline’s new $190 million funding means it’s the newest billion dollar contender in the game of drones

With a valuation of over $1 billion and $190 million in new financing, Zipline has become the latest contender to be the leader in the game of drones.

The competition to be a leading vendor of delivery drone services is fierce, but Zipline has already built its billion-dollar business selling its hardware and services as a supplier of medical supplies across emerging markets. It may be among the most tested drone delivery services in the world.

Zipline said it will use the new funds to expand its medical supply delivery services across Africa, the Americas, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The company said it aims to serve 700 million people with its drones within the next five years.

“There is a growing feeling around the world that technology is not benefitting the vast majority of people, said Zipline chief executive Keller Rinaudo in a statement. “The old conventional wisdom has been that building a successful technology company requires exploiting people’s personal information or hijacking their attention. Zipline wants to establish a new model for success in Silicon Valley by showing the world that the right technology company with the right mission and the best team can help improve the lives of every person on the planet.”

Zipline has done the bulk of its work in Africa. The company recently announced a national program in Ghana, which adds to its work with the Rwandan government — one of the company’s first customers.

Zipline intends to expand its drone delivery services into the U.S. this year, beginning with pilot programs in North Carolina.

The Rise Fund, a global impact investment vehicle managed by the multi-billion dollar private equity firm TPG, joined previous investors Baillie Gifford, GV, Katalyst Ventures, Temasek, Bright Success Capital, Goldman Sachs, Oakhouse Partners, Toyota Tsusho Corp, and the Design to Improve Life Fund, in committing to the $190 million financing.

The capital came in two closes. The first in 2018 and another earlier this year.

In all Zipline has raised $225 million since it was founded to increase access to medical supplies around the world. The company’s service works by enabling healthcare workers to order supplies by text message and have them delivered by drones dispatched from central distribution centers.

The company’s drones have a range of 160 kilometers, a cruising speed of 110 kilometers per hour, and can carry 1.75 kilograms of cargo.

 

As Quibi reportedly seeks another $1 billion, Fiction Riot fills the programming slate for its rival service

Even as Quibi, the short form video platform from Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo, reportedly looks to raise another $1 billion, rival service Fiction Riot continues to steadily build out its pipeline of short form serials.

The Los Angeles-based company has already launched a beta version of its streaming service, Ficto, and yesterday announced a host of new shows that will appear on the app later this year.

Ficto is bringing to market adaptations of bestselling books and original productions which will be released with theatrical films and has plans in the pipeline for other forms of scripted and unscripted entertainment.

On the back end of its service, Fiction Riot is using blockchain-based tools to create a more transparent way to share revenue and manage payments among writers, artists and producers of new series, according to company founder and chief executive Mike Esola.

Meanwhile, Quibi is reportedly looking to raise another $1 billion to keep up the pace of spending big dollars for big names to draw new audiences to its service. The company is reportedly spending $5 million per hour of storytelling for some of its titles.

Both services are entering a highly competitive and increasingly fragmented entertainment landscape with many big studios building moats around their content in the form of exclusive subscription-based streaming services. Both Quibi and Ficto see short form as a way to break through with a new kind of storytelling built for mobile media first.

Alongside the series sourced from Ficto’s online “Million for Million campaign“, which will reward $1 million to the first producer of an episode that reaches 1 million unique views on the site.

“Within a week of publicizing our Million for Million campaign, we received over 400 submissions from professional and aspiring filmmakers with premium content,” said Mike Esola, Fiction Riot co-founder and chief executive. “From those, we accepted 20 outstanding series that rival anything we’ve seen across streaming services today, and are now scheduled to become available on Ficto in the coming months”

Through Ficto, Fiction Riot plans to premiere more than 50 series at launch and will release new shows weekly.

The slate of programming in development includes:

  • The Hating Game – A Sally Thorne bestseller that’s also being adapted into a film later this year starring Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell.
  • Language of Flowers – With over two million copies sold this book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh also has a film adaptation in the works that will star Nick Robinson and Kiersey Clemons.
  • Pure – A part teen fantasy in the tradition of Edward Scissorhands, the series by Julianna Baggott will be adapted into a live-action hybrid (but won’t star Johnny Depp or Winona Ryder).
  • The Killing Moon – A “Game of Thrones” for the young adult crowd N.K. Jemisin’s book is another feature in the Ficto slate. The company is currently interviewing showrunners for the series.
  • Legend – This internationally bestselling franchise turned its author, Marie Lu, into an overnight celebrity in China at the age of 26. The series from Ficto will concentrate on the first book in Lu’s trilogy.
  • Lion of Ireland – Combining historical events with magical realism this book from Morgan Llywelyn has sold over 40 million copies sold worldwide.  Michael Scott is simultaneously writing a pilot for linear television.
  • Riftwar Saga – One of the longest-running fantasy book franchises, these Raymond E. Feist novels have sold over 20 million copies. Atomic Blonde and 300 screenwriter Kurt Johnstad is adapting a series for Ficto which will focus on the first three books.

What’s impressive is that Fiction Riot is signing all of these deals without the over $1 billion Quibi is raising for its own app-based service, whose launch date continues to be something of a moving target.

“We’ve raised under $15 million,” says Esola of Fiction Riot’s financing.

In some cases, Esola said, it’s as easy as picking up shows from the cable companies that can no longer afford them. He points to the success of Netflix’s hit “You”, which the streaming service picked up from Lifetime.

“I call it the great migration of content,” Esola says.

For Fiction Riot the pitch is better revenue sharing and economics for the people involved in the productions and better tools for fan engagement that are native to mobile devices.

Things like click to purchase, push notifications for announcements of live streams or special features, and opportunities for greater interactivity for audiences with shows, are all options on mobile platforms that are much harder to pull off with linear television, or streaming, says Esola.

“It’s up to startups like us to address the grassroots movement,” for content creators, Esola says. “It will never happen from the dinosaurs. They’re never going to agree to it.”

DNA Script picks up $38.5 million to make DNA production faster and simpler

DNA Script has raised $38.5 million in new financing to commercialize a process that it claims is the first big leap forward in manufacturing genetic material.

The revolution in synthetic biology that’s reshaping industries from medicine to agriculture rests on three, equally important pillars.

They include: analytics — the ability to map the genome and understand the function of different genes; synthesis — the ability to manufacture DNA to achieve certain functions; and gene editing — the CRISPR-based technologies that allow for the addition or subtraction of genetic code.

New technologies have already been introduced to transform the analytics and editing of genomes, but little progress has been made over the past 50 years in the ways in which genetic material is manufactured. That’s exactly the problem that DNA Script is trying to solve.

Traditionally, making DNA involved the use of chemical compounds to synthesize (or write) DNA in chains that were limited to around 200 nucleotide bases. Those synthetic pieces of genetic code are then assembled together to make a gene.

DNA Script’s technology holds the promise of making longer chains of nucleotides by mirroring the enzymatic process through which DNA is assembled within cells — with fewer errors and no chemical waste material. The enzymatic process can accelerate commercial applications in healthcare, chemical manufacturing, and agriculture.

“Any technology that can make that faster is going to be very valuable,” says Christopher Voigt, a synthetic biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, told the journal Nature. “There is no Nobel prize that needs to happen,” Leproust says. “It’s just hard engineering.”

DNA Script isn’t the only company in the market that’s looking to make the leap forward in enzymatic DNA production. Nucleara, startup working with Harvard University’s famed geneticist, George Church, and Ansa Bio, a startup affiliated with Jay Keasling’s Berkeley lab at the University of California are also moving forward with the technology.

But the Paris-based company has achieved some milestones that would make its technology potentially the first to come to market with a commercially viable approach.

At least, that’s what investors new investors LSP and Bpifrance, through its Large Venture fund, are hoping. They’re joined by previous investors Illumina Ventures, M. Ventures, Sofinnova Partners, Kurma Partners and Idinvest Partners, in backing the company’s latest funding.

The company said the money would be used to accelerate the development of its first products and establish a presence in the United States.

“As we announced earlier this year at the AGBT General Meeting, DNA Script was the first company to enzymatically synthesize a 200mer oligo de novo with an average coupling efficiency that rivals the best organic chemical processes in use today,”  said Thomas Ybert, chief executive and cofounder of DNA Script. “Our technology is now reliable enough for its first commercial applications, which we believe will deliver the promise of same-day results to researchers everywhere, with DNA synthesis that can be completed in just a few hours.”

“Old Town Road” finally gets the video treatment

From viral TikTok sensation, to music’s number one smash hit, “Old Town Road” has taken the top spot in music’s cultural firmament relying on an incredible Nine Inch Nails sample, some old fashioned controversy (it was barred from country music charts), and a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus.

So it’s only natural that the song that was created virtually and rose to number one through online ubiquity would work its way backward through the traditional music industry’s playbook to finally, after weeks atop the Billboard charts, get its video treatment.

And what a video treatment it is. This video has everything. Horse chases, car races, gunfights, time travel, and bingo.

Joining Lil Nas X is a cornucopia of famous faces from music and film including Billy Ray Cyrus (of course), Chris Rock, Diplo, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty.

It’s been a long week, so take a break with a trip on the “Old Town Road”. It’s fun.

Australia’s design unicorn, Canva, picks up two free image-sharing services, and launches new photo product

Canva, the design and publishing platform taking on Adobe, PowerPoint, and others, has acquired the free stock image providers Pexels and Pixabay and launched a new subscription service for its premium image marketplace, Photos Unlimited.

Taken together, the new strategic moves represent a concerted effort by the company to add more graphic options to its design toolkit.

“With over 1 million images downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, both Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free, quality content from small businesses, social media marketers and others — not just from designers and companies with big budgets,” said Canva chief executive Melanie Perkins, in a statement.

Perkins declined to disclose how much Canva spent on the two stock image services.

As a result of the acquisition, Canva users will have access to Pexels and Pixabay’s images through the Canva platform free of charge. Photographs on the respective sites will continue to be free for all users as well, according to Perkins.

“No other design platform truly believes in the mission of empowering the world to design like Canva, and providing free stock content is central to their mission. Today’s announcement signifies a huge step forward in the right direction,” said Pexels co-founder, Ingo Joseph, in a statement. “We’re on our way to put an end to cheesy stock photos and open the doors to more authentic, trending content for free.”

In addition to the free services, Canva is rolling out Photos Unlimited, a subscription service for $12.95 per-month or $120 per-year for the company’s own premium stock photos. That’s in addition to the $1 per-image, per-use, or $20 for lifetime use of images that Canva charges for through its platform.

Canva has over 15 million monthly active users who have made over 1 billion designs since the company launched in 2013.

The Australian company has raised $86.6 million from institutional investors like Australia’s own Blackbird Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Matrix Partners, and Sequoia Capital, alongside celebrity investors including Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. Canva’s currently valued at over $1 billion.

 

Fastly pops in public offering showing that there’s still money for tech IPOs

Shares of Fastly, the service that’s used by websites to ensure that they can load faster, have popped in its first hours of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company, which priced its public offering at around $16 — the top of the estimated range for its public offering — have risen more than 50% since their debut on public markets to trade at $25.01.

It’s a sharp contrast to the public offering last week from Uber, which is only just now scratching back to its initial offering price after a week of trading underwater, and an indicator that there’s still some open space in the IPO window for companies to raise money on public markets, despite ongoing uncertainties stemming from the trade war with China.

Compared with other recent public offerings, Fastly’s balance sheet looks pretty okay. Its losses are narrowing (both on an absolute and per-share basis according to its public filing), but the company is paying more for its revenue.

San Francisco-based Fastly competes with companies that include Akamai, Amazon, Cisco and Verizon, providing data centers and a content-distribution service to deliver videos from companies like The New York Times, Ticketmaster, New Relic and Spotify.

Last year, the company reported revenues of $144.6 million and a net loss of $30.9 million, up from $104.9 million in revenue and $32.5 million in losses in the year ago period. Revenue was up more than 38% and losses narrowed by 5% over the course of the year.

The outcome is a nice win for Fastly investors, including August Capital, Iconiq Strategic Partners, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and Amplify Partners, which backed the company with $219 million in funding over the eight years since Artur Bergman founded the business in 2011.

Trump’s Huawei ban ‘wins’ one trade battle, but the US may lose the networking war

While U.S. government officials celebrate what they must consider to be a win in their battle against the low-cost, high-performance networking vendor Huawei and other Chinese hardware manufacturers, the country is at risk of falling seriously behind in the broader, global competition for telecom tech and customers.

It may be a race that the U.S. is willing to concede, but it should be noted that Huawei’s sphere of influence on other shores continues to expand, even as the company’s ability to operate in the U.S. is completely proscribed.

Indeed, Huawei’s executive director and chairman of its investment review board, David Wang, told Bloomberg that, “Our U.S. business is not that big. We have global operations. We still will have stable operations.”

Wang is right… to a point. Huawei derives most of its sales from international markets, according to a 2018 financial report released earlier this year, but it depends heavily on technology from U.S. chip manufacturers for its equipment. Without those supplies, Huawei could find itself in a very difficult spot, indeed.

Huawei’s end of year financials showed its consumer devices business is now its main money-maker, while the majority of its revenue is not derived from the U.S. market

And the U.S. has its reasons for working to stymie Huawei’s efforts to expand the reach of its networking technologies as this excellent Twitter thread from Adam Townsend persuasively argues.

Essentially, China has invested its basically limitless capital into subsidizing next-gen wireless technology and buying up next-generation startups and innovators, all while the U.S. has borne early stage risk. Meanwhile, it is also using unlimited money to poach regulators and industry experts who might advocate against it.

Huawei continues to make inroads in nations across the emerging markets of Latin America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa where demand for connectivity is on the rise. Those are regions where the U.S. has plenty of strategic interests, but America’s ability to sway public opinion or entice governments to act against Chinese networking companies could be severely limited by its inability to offer meaningful incentives or alternatives to them.

Even with the passage of the BUILD Act in October 2018, which was meant to revitalize U.S. foreign aid and investment with a $60 billion package, it’s worth noting that China spent nearly $47 billion in foreign investment in Europe alone in 2018. Chinese direct investments totaled another $49.45 billion into Africa and the Middle East and $18 billion into South America, according to data from the American Enterprise Institute, compiled by Foreign Policy.

Map courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute.

Those investments have turned nations that should be staunch political allies into reluctant or simply rhetorical backers of the U.S. position. Take the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil, for example — a historically strong partnership going back years and one that seemingly only strengthened given the similarities between the two ultraconservative leaders in power in both nations.

However, as Foreign Affairs reports, Brazil is unlikely to accede to President Trump’s demands that Brazil aids in steps to block China’s economic expansion.

“Brazilian business groups have already begun to defend the country’s deep trade ties to China, rightly pointing out that any hope of containing China and once more turning the United States into Brazil’s most important trading partner is little more than unrealistic nostalgia,” writes Foreign Affairs correspondent, Oliver Stuenkel. “Working alongside powerful military generals, these business associations are mobilizing to avoid any delays that sidelining Huawei in the region could cause in getting 5G up and running.”

The whole article is worth reading, but its refrain is that the attempts by U.S. government officials to paint Huawei and Chinese economic inroads as a national security threat in developing economies are largely falling on deaf ears.

It’s not just networking technologies either. As one venture capitalist who invests in Latin America and the U.S. told TechCrunch anonymously: “It’s interesting how the U.S.-China relationships are going to affect what is happening in Latin America. The Chinese are already being more aggressive on the banking side.”

China’s big technology companies are also taking an interest in South America, both as vendors and as investors on the continent.

In an article in Crunchbase, the South American and Chinese-focused venture capitalist, Nathan Lustig underscored the trend. Lustig wrote:

In both the private and the public sectors, China is swiftly increasing its support for Latin America. Chinese expertise in financial technology, as well as its influence in developing markets around the world, is turning China into a strategic partner for startups and entrepreneurs in Latin America. Most of the Chinese investment in Latin America so far is going to Brazil, although this is likely to spread across the region as Chinese investors become better-acquainted with the local tech ecosystems, most likely to Mexico.

Beyond the Didi Chuxing acquisition of Brazil’s 99 in January, Chinese companies began investing heavily in Brazilian fintech startups, specifically Nubank and StoneCo, this year.

Indeed, China has an entire catalog of low-cost technologies and economic packages from state-owned and privately held investors to support their adoption, backing up its position as the leader for tech across a range of applications in emerging markets.

For the U.S. to compete, it will have to look beyond protectionism at its shores to actual commitments to greater economic development abroad. With lower tax revenues coming in and the prospect of giant deficits building up as far as the eye can see, there’s not much room to promote an alternative to Huawei internationally. That could leave the country increasingly isolated and create far more problems as it gets left behind.

XPRIZE names two grand prize winners in $15 million Global Learning Challenge

XPRIZE, the non-profit organization developing and managing competitions to find solutions to social challenges, has named two grand prize winners in the Elon Musk-backed Global Learning XPRIZE .

The companies, KitKit School out of South Korea and the U.S., and onebillion, operating in Kenya and the U.K., were announced at an awards ceremony hosted at the Google Spruce Goose Hangar in Playa Vista, Calif.

XPRIZE set each of the competing teams the task of developing scalable services that could enable children to teach themselves basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills within 15 months.

Musk himself was on hand to award $5 million checks to each of the winning teams.

Five finalists including: New York-based CCI, which developed lesson plans and a development language so non-coders could create lessons; Chimple, a Bangalore-based, learning platform enabling children to learn reading, writing and math on a tablet; RobotTutor, a Pittsburgh-based company which used Carnegie Mellon research to develop an app for Android tablets that would teach lessons in reading and writing with speech recognition, machine learning, and human computer interactions, and the two grand prize winners all received $1 million to continue developing their projects.

The tests required each product to be field tested in Swahili, reaching nearly 3,000 children in 170 villages across Tanzania.

All of the final solutions from each of the five teams that made it to the final round of competition have been open-sourced so anyone can improve on and develop local solutions using the toolkits developed by each team in competition.

Kitkit School, with a team from Berkeley, Calif. and Seoul, developed a program with a game-based core and flexible learning architecture to help kids learn independently, while onebillion, merged numeracy content with literacy material to provide directed learning and activities alongside monitoring to personalize responses to children’s needs.

Both teams are going home with $5 million to continue their work.

The problem of access to basic education affects more than 250 million children around the world, who can’t read or write and one-in-five children around the world aren’t in school, according to data from UNESCO.

The problem of access is compounded by a shortage of teachers at the primary ad secondary school level. Some research, cited by XPRIZE, indicates that the world needs to recruit another 68.8 million teachers to provide every child with a primary and secondary education by 2040.

Before the Global Learning XPRIZE field test, 74% of the children who participated were reported as never having attended school; 80% were never read to at home; and 90% couldn’t read a single word of Swahili.

After the 15 month program working on donated Google Pixel C tablets and pre-loaded with software, the number was cut in half.

“Education is a fundamental human right, and we are so proud of all the teams and their dedication and hard work to ensure every single child has the opportunity to take learning into their own hands,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE, in a statement. “Learning how to read, write and demonstrate basic math are essential building blocks for those who want to live free from poverty and its limitations, and we believe that this competition clearly demonstrated the accelerated learning made possible through the educational applications developed by our teams, and ultimately hope that this movement spurs a revolution in education, worldwide.”

After the grand prize announcement, XPRIZE said it will work to secure and load the software onto tablets; localize the software; and deliver preloaded hardware and charging stations to remote locations so all finalist teams can scale their learning software across the world.

Trump declares national emergency to protect U.S. networks from foreign espionage

President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to “deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology… supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.”

Reports that the President would sign the executive order were circulating last night, and, as reported, it’s clear that China is the main target for U.S. concerns — even as the two nations continue to escalate their trade war.

While the U.S. has already restricted government contractors and federal agencies from using technology supplied by Huawei or its subsidiaries, this new Executive Order gives Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other federal agencies broad powers of oversight and approval over private company transactions.

The President had been considering using the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the President broad powers to regulate commerce during a national emergency, since at least last May, when The Wall Street Journal first reported the potential for executive action.

The U.S. Justice Department has issued an unprecedented string of indictments against Chinese hackers since last September in addition to specifically targeting companies like ZTE and Huawei, which the U.S. has also accused of spying for the Chinese government.

As my colleague Catherine Shu wrote:

House committee first labeled Huawei and ZTE as national security threats in 2012, accusations they have repeatedly denied. U.S. government agencies and contractors have been banned from using Huawei equipment since last year.

Huawei has come under even more scrutiny during the trade war, with Chinese officials accusing the U.S. of using Huawei as a bargaining chip. Chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was arrested last year in Canada at the behest of the U.S. government and faces up to 30 years in prison on accusations of fraud. U.S. federal prosecutors have also charged Huawei with stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile.

The Secretary of Commerce has 150 days to come up with an enforcement regime and name the technologies or companies that could be barred from the U.S. under the Executive Order.

Republican appointees at the Federal Communications Commission applauded the measure. “President Trump’s decision sends a clear message that the U.S. will do what it takes to secure our communications networks,” wrote FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr in a statement. “The Executive Order will help ensure that our foreign adversaries do not compromise the security of our networks or undermine our core values, including our freedom from unlawful surveillance and respect for intellectual property.”

Meanwhile, it’s likely that rural communities whose cable operators rely on low cost Chinese equipment to build and maintain high speed internet networks will be the hardest hit by the decision to ban foreign products from telecommunications networks.

Responding to an FCC proposal that would ban subsidies to carriers that use Huawei equipment, a group of telecommunications associations said that carriers would “have to spend millions of dollars — and in some cases, more than $100 million — on just the immediate costs of ripping up and replacing equipment.”

Those associations, including the Competitive Carriers Association, rural broadband association NTCA, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, and broadband providers association ITTA went on to add that “carriers that chose ‘the most cost-effective option’ available to them at the time of purchase will be forced to rebuild their networks at a cost substantially greater than they spent to build the networks in the first place.”