Hashtag Trending Feb. 18 – Geothermal laser drill; FCC bans exclusive revenue sharing; Amazon and Visa ends feud

With files from Tom Li

Geothermal energy startup uses lasers to bore into the Earth’s crust, the FCC bans exclusive revenue sharing between landlords and ISPs, and Amazon and Visa end dispute over transaction fees. 

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday, February 18th, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

One startup wants to tackle geothermal energy using an unconventional drilling method. Quaise Energy, a startup spun out of MIT, wants to drill 12 miles into the Earth using microwave lasers. Without drill bits that need tedious replacing, the drill could reach much deeper into the Earth’s crust and reach much hotter temperatures. The rock bits molten by the laser drill are carried up by pressurized gas. At 12 miles deep, the temperatures could reach 700 degrees, capable of producing supercritical water that holds far more energy in the same mass.  Quaise will be using its $63 million research grant to start drilling in 2024. Eventually, it hopes to attract the interest of energy companies currently using fossil fuels.

The U.S Federal Communications Commission has finally set harder rules to ban revenue sharing between landlords and internet providers. Although regulations already prohibit apartment landlords from entering exclusive revenue-sharing agreements with ISPs, in which the landlord would give a single ISP sole access to the building for a monetary incentive, the FCC said that it wasn’t enough to deter them. Ars Technica reported that the new rules on revenue sharing are also retroactive, meaning they apply to existing agreements. With that said, exclusive marketing agreements still exist, but the FCC now also requires the service provider to disclose them to tenants.

Amazon and Visa have finally made up and agreed to do business again. In January, Amazon announced that it would drop Visa as a payment partner in Britain over payment fees. Now, the two have entered into an agreement that sees Visa return as a payment method. In parallel, Amazon will also be dropping a 0.5 per cent surcharge on Visa transactions in Singapore and Australia. Amazon also told CNBC that it will collaborate with Visa to develop new products and technologies.

Now for something a bit different. Telemedicine is transforming the way people interact with doctors, but what about our pets? One Virtual veterinarian platform is gaining some serious attention from pet owners. The platform called Dutch has raised over $20 million in Series A funding. Launched in 2021, Dutch has helped more than 24,000 pets through 100 licensed veterinarians, according to TechCrunch. Serviceable issues include skin conditions, tremors, hair loss, diet and nutrition. The platform says it will be using the funding to improve the functions of its electronic medical record database for pet owners.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops early every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at sbalsara@itwc.ca

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